Adapting books into films is big business for studios, and this week two of the authors who are considered the cream of the genre crop will be seeing their written work turned into full features on the silver screen.
First, author Stephen King –- who is certainly no stranger to seeing his books turned into films –- is set to have his story “The Reach” turned into a feature by British financer Park Entertainment, who will be producing alongside DownEast Village Productions. With the story that King once said he would “most like to be remembered for after his death,” the banners are shopping the rights around on the market at Marche du Film in Cannes. With an excepted budget reportedly in the $12 million-$14 million range, the story’s title is in reference to a 1.5-mile stretch of water between Goat Island and the coastline of King’s precious home state of Maine. The short story, featured in the “Skeleton Crew” collection, follows a 95-year-old woman that embarks on a journey from the island to the coastline after the Reach is frozen for the first time in 50 years. It’s once of King’s stories that strays from his typically Grand Guignol nature, and is more of a survivor’s tale than anything. It’s currently being sent out to agents and directors, and we’re hoping they can find someone who’s willing to handle a work King that is free of gory horror, and is more of an existential journey.
Meanwhile, while renowned science-fiction author Ray Bradbury hasn’t been as lucrative in the film world as King, even though some fine episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” come to mind, MGM is hoping “From The Dust Returned” will be a success. “Dust” is a collection of short stories focusing on a seemingly average boy named Timothy who is adopted into a family of monsters. Tim Burton regular Denise Di Novi and “The Lucky One” producer Alison Greenspan are joining in production duties, with this series of short vignettes steeped in genre as Timothy is told a series of stories by his mummified grandmother, all on the eve of a family reunion that takes place every Halloween. Each story highlights the eccentric nature of each family member, from his vampiric parents to his teleporting sister. If Burton’s “Dark Shadows” overcomes mostly negative word of mouth to become a box office hit this weekend, expect to hear about more projects like this. The book was published in 2002, and Bradbury trusted Di Novi and Greenspan with the rights after he was pleased with the work they did trying to set up “The Illustrated Man” adaptation at Warner Bros. That had “Watchmen” helmer Zack Snyder on board at one point, but obviously we know he’s a little preoccupied flying with “Man Of Steel” right now.
No word on when either of these projects will be up and running, but we’re eager to see both make their way to the cinema, especially if it means we can have a feature-length dose of Bradbury on the silver screen.