King receives the 2104 National Medal of Arts from President Obama for “combining storytelling with analysis of human nature”. Other recipients include Sally Fields and Alice Waters.
Sony Pictures and MRC will co-finance movies and TV shows based on King’s The Dark Tower. Sony will distribute the first in a series of movies, while a complementary TV series is being developed by MRC. The new script is primarily based on the first book in the series, The Gunslinger, and the relationship between Roland and Jake. The script, by Goldman and Pinkner is a reconceived version of the script that had been previously developed at Universal and at Warner Bros. King:
I’m excited that The Dark Tower is finally going to appear on the screen. Those who have traveled with Roland and his friends in their search for the Dark Tower are going to have their long-held hopes fully realized. This is a brilliant and creative approach to my books.
There are few projects out there that compare with the scope, vision, complex characters and fully drawn world that Stephen King has created with The Dark Tower. I am a giant fan. And, as Stephen himself does, we love the direction that Akiva and Jeff have taken. This is a great opportunity for a director to put his or her stamp on a cool global franchise.
King comments on the act:
Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration act is gay discrimination, pure and simple. You can frost a dog turd, but it's still a dog turd.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 31, 2015
King asks for an apology from LePage for claiming that he doesn’t pay his taxes.
Governor Paul LePage implied that I don't pay my taxes. I do. Every cent. I think he needs to man up and apologize.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 20, 2015
In 2013, my wife and I paid approximately 1.4 million (dollars) in state taxes. As this is a matter of public record, I have no problem telling you that. I would imagine 2014 was about the same, but I do not have those figures.
King stars in an ad campaign for Maine’s Senate Race, supporting Democratic candidate Bellows who is running against Republican incumbent Sen. Susan Collins.
I’ve never worked so hard, or hoped so strongly for a change in leadership from the state of Maine.
King shares his fear that the world is becoming more like George Orwell’s 1984 in an interview with The Huffington Post.
It’s tiring, to see the world looks more and more like George Orwell’s vision in 1984 where war is a constant thing… it’s just a little bit depressing.
King is criticized by BTK Killer Dennis Rader’s daughter for writing the screenplay, A Good Marriage, inspired by the serial killer. Kerri Rawson ends the family’s nine-year silence by sending letters to King and news outlets saying that King is exploiting her family and the families of the victims. Rawson to the Wichita Eagle:
He’s exploiting my father’s 10 victims and their families.
I maintain that the theme of both the novella and the movie — how some men are able to keep secrets from even their closest loved ones — is valid and deserves exploration.
King, a long time Boston Red Sox fan, admits he would wear a Derek Jeter hat to Fenway Park in honor of the New York Yankees shortstop’s last game if he were attending.
For years, the Red Sox and the Yankees have been mortal enemies and this year Derek Jeter is going to finish his career at Fenway Park. We hated him all those years because he always broke our hearts but everybody in that stadium is going to stand and applaud at every at-bat that he has in that last game. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if I was there, I’d wear a Jeter hat to Fenway Park. My kids would never speak to me again.
King visits CBS this morning to talk about his career and his new movie “A Good Marriage”. The movie, which opens in theaters October 3, is based on BTK killer Dennis Rader. King discusses the wife in the film, played by Joan Allen:
She never had a clue of what he was doing and this secret life that he had. And so I started to think, I wonder how many of us are sleeping with strangers and what we really know about the people that we think we’re close to.
King’s novel 11/22/63 is being adapted into a nine-hour miniseries that will stream on Hulu. The novel is the story of a school teacher who travels back in time to stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. King and J.J. Abrams will be executive producers on the project. King:
If I ever wrote a book that cries out for long-form, event-TV programming, 11/22/63 is it. I’m excited that it’s going to happen, and am looking forward to working with J.J. Abrams and the whole Bad Robot team.
Trailer for King’s movie A Good Marriage is released. King:
I’ve seen enough movies adapted from my work to know that the things that work the best are the things that aren’t too long and aren’t too short. Some of the stories, when they get expanded, they go in the wrong direction, and with the novels, if they’re really expansive, a lot of times it’s like sitting around a suitcase and trying to get everything in. A Good Marriage is about 100 pages long, about as long as Shawshank, or The Body, which became Stand By Me. And I liked it because it was from the woman’s point of view. I think that’s why Joan Allen got involved. She saw it as a feminist story, with a woman who wasn’t going to just become a scream machine.
King accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and nominates John Grisham.
King joins a group of authors, including Donna Tartt and Nora Roberts, in signing an online letter protesting Amazon.com’s treatment of books published by the Hachette Book Group. Amazon is currently involved in a dispute with the publishing group over e-book prices and other issues, and as a result has penalized the publisher by slowing shipments and removing the preorder option for their books. The letter says:
As writers—some but not all published by Hachette—we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want. It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation.
Spielberg and King continue writing and producing episodes for Under the Dome. Continuing into season two, the citizens of the small Maine town are still trying to understand what the dome is and how to destroy it to free themselves and reconnect with the outside world.
Lifetime is set to film an adaptation of King’s novella, Big Driver, starring Maria Bello, Olympia Dukakis, Will Harris and Joan Jett. The short story was originally included in the 2010 collection Full Dark, No Stars and focuses on a mystery writer obsessed with revenge against the man who assaulted her.
King reads fans some of the Under the Dome Season 2 premiere script. The new season will include two character deaths, and the introduction of several new actors and characters. The show returns June 30th on CBS.
King announces his second novel of 2014 Revival on his website. Revival, set to release in November, revolves around faith and addiction in the mid-20th century. King’s description of Revival:
In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs — including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town. Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of 13, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties — addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate — Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.
King releases a highly-anticipated sequel to The Shining following Dan Torrance as a grown adult being haunted by the beings of the Overlook Hotel from the hellish childhood year he had spent there with his family. Doctor Sleep also follows a group of traveling gypsies that feed off of the steam released by people who have the Shining as they are slowly tortured to death. While traveling on a promotional tour, King asked his fans for advice about two potential projects he would be interested in working on.
I mentioned two potential projects while I was on the road, one […] a sequel to The Shining called Doctor Sleep. Are you interested in reading either of these? If so, which one turns your dials more? [We] will be counting your votes (and of course it all means nothing if the muse doesn’t speak).
Stephen Spielberg and King team up to produce a television series based on King’s story, Under the Dome. Premiering in the summer of 2013, the first season releases thirteen episodes on CBS starring Mike Vogel and Rachelle Lefevre as survivors of the mysterious Chester Mill dome. King told CBS that he really likes working with other writers as a collaborative effort to make something as great as Under the Dome. He likes building the mystery and revealing clues a little at a time.
I think people like to watch something like Under the Dome and imagine how they would react.
Pierce Brosnan stars in the A&E Network special four hour mini series of King’s Bag of Bones. Directed by Mick Garris, the film premieres as two separate episodes of two hours long. 3.37 million viewers tune in to watch Brosnan portray a grieving novelist who secludes himself in a lake house after the death of his wife. Durring filming, Garris made sure that he and King stayed in constant contact because Garris wanted to make sure that he portrayed the writer’s work precisely.
I sent him dailies regularly and we did talk, but he’s pretty much a guy who likes to let you do what you’ll do. He learned, a long time ago, of the frustrations of attaching yourself emotionally to a film made from your book that may not turn out well. He’s been able to successfully maintain a balance between the books staying what they are and the movies being what they are, whether he’s involved or not.
King publishes the novel 11/22/63 about a time traveler who attempts to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The novel required a deep amount of research to accurately portray the early 1960’s.
I’ve never tried to write anything like this before. It was really strange at first, like breaking in new shoes.
On a seemingly normal day, the small town of Chester’s Mill, Maine is encased in an indestructible dome that completely separates them from the rest of the world. King had originally gotten the idea for Under the Dome in the 1970’s, but scrapped the idea several times. After finally publishing the novel, he stated that a good idea never leaves your mind.
I thought to myself what an image that would make, the idea of the whole world watching these people who are as out of touch as people who are stranded on a desert island. They were all fun to write about, I love this book and I love the people in it.
Based off the short story in King’s compilation, Skeleton Crew, The Mist is adapted into film by director Frank Darabont. Starring Thomas Jane, the film is made on am $18 million budget and grosses $57.3 million in the box office. Darabont took a risk by rewritting the screenplay’s ending to tear away from King’s original vision. To his surprise, King praised the ending, describing it as one that would be unsettling in studios.
The ending is such a jolt—wham! It’s frightening. The story is less about the monsters outside than about the monsters inside, the people you’re stuck with, your friends and neighbors breaking under the strain.
Mikael Håfström adapts the King short story, 1408, into a feature film starring John Cusack as a horror novelist who made his career by investigating potentially haunted houses. Via an annonymous tip, Cusack spends a night at New York City’s Dolphin Hotel in the infamous Room 1408, although he is strongly advised against it by the motels manager, played by Samuel L. Jackson. The film grossed $132 million after being produced on a budget of $25 million. Like many of the film adaptations of his work, King was less than thrilled about the Swedish directors work.
[To adapt my work into film] you have to concentrate on character – and throw out the notion that you need a lot of blood spurting and eyeballs flying. That’s not what fear is about.
Based on a short story originally published in King’s compilation, Four Past Midnight, The Secret Window (originally titled Secret Window, Secret Garden) is a tale of a writer who is wrongfully accused of stealing another author’s work and attempts to prove his innocents after all the evidence and people with an alibi being to disappear. Directed by David Koepp, the psychological thriller stars Johnny Depp as the young, misunderstood writer.
King publishes a collection of 14 short stories with Scribner publishing called Everything’s Eventual. One of the tales is The Little Sisters of Eluria, an adventure of Roland pre-The Dark Tower series.
King and Straub team up again to release numerous novels that tie into the Dark Tower series. As a sequel to the Talisman, King publishes Black House about a series of murders that plague the town of French Landing, Wisconsin and Jack Sawyer has to reschedule an early retirement to stop the killer.
Directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tom Hanks and David Morse, King’s mythical prison drama is adapted into a major motion picture. The film grosses $209.7 million after being made on a $60 million budget. Upon seeing the movie, King reportedly repeatedly whispered to his wife,
This is a good movie!
King and his wife Tabitha King give an interview to Katie Couric on the Today Show just five months after King is hit by a truck and seriously injured.
King originally published The Green Mile as six shorter novellas. The tale of a former prison guard at a state penitentiary in 1932 who encounters a peculiar inmate, John Coffey, is categorized as magic realism after prison guard Paul Edgecombe begins to doubt that the kind-hearted Coffey actually committed his crimes.
There’s a feeling in the Green Mile that the human spirit is alive and well even under the most difficult of circumstances. I’ve heard sometimes the more difficult life becomes, the more the human spirit has a chance to shine, and I can’t think of a place where life is more difficult than on death row.
King’s short story Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is adapted by Frank Darabont into The Shawshank Redemption, a feature film starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman as two inmates involved in a money laundering plot in Shawshank State Prison. The film makes $28.3 million in the box office after being produced on a $25 million budget. The film currently holds the #1 spot in IMDb’s “Top 250” best films list. Darabont has adapted many of King’s works into film and says he’s always been attracted to his work as a writer.
What attracts me to his work? He’s one hell of a story spinner. He spins yarns in a very old-school way that tend to be very involving, very rich in character. […] Stephen is a very old-fashioned storyteller, in the best sense of being old-fashioned. Aside from character and absorbing narrative, he has one hell of a knack for suspense, as he’s proven time and again.
Mick Garris directs the made for television film adaptation of King’s The Stand, which premieres on ABC network. Starring Gary Sinise, Rob Lowe and Molly Ringwald, the 366 minute, four part film follows a group of post-apocalyptic survivors as they begin to reform a society after the world population is wiped out by a militarized version of the plague. When King heard that The Stand was being made into a film, he was less than enthusiastic about it and unsure if it would work.
I didn’t know anything about this until I read about it on the Internet. You absolutely can’t make it as a two-hour movie. If it was a trilogy of films…maybe. People who’ve seen Kubrick’s The Shining dislike the miniseries I wrote (and my amigo Mick Garris directed) even if they haven’t seen it. That’s always annoyed me. But the wheel of karma turns! This time people will probably say, “The miniseries was lots better.”
Directed by William Goldman, produced by Rob Reiner and starring James Caan and Kathy Bates, King’s Misery is adapted into a major film. The film grosses $61.3 million on a budget of $20 million. King had refused to sell the novel’s adaptation rights because of how other works of his were mishandled in film translations, but eventually let Reiner do Misery after his 1986 adaptation of Stand by Me. In his collection, Stephen King Goes to the Movies, King states that Misery is one of his top ten favorite film adaptations.
After finding something mysterious buried in her back yard, Bobbi Anderson becomes obsessed with digging it up and discovering what it is. Soon, the town’s population becomes increasingly ill due to the appearance of the aliens known as the Tommyknockers.
After becoming discouraged with his progress, King parted with the manuscript, only to come back to it decades later.
That was another case of a book I tried to write a long time ago. I had the idea of the guy stumbling over the flying saucer when I was a senior in college. I had 15 or 20 pages and I just stopped. I don’t remember why.
After being saved from a car accident, novelist Paul Sheldon is taken in and nursed by his number one fan, Annie Wilkes. Under her care, he finishes the final novel in Wilke’s favorite series, starring a character named Misery. Wilkes becomes infuriated by Sheldon’s surprise death of Misery and keeps him captive until he writes another novel bringing Misery to life. King says the inspiration for Misery came from poor fan reception of his books that weren’t horror/thriller focused. It also came from King’s struggle to give up drugs and alcohol.
Take the psychotic nurse in Misery, which I wrote when I was having such a tough time with dope. I knew what I was writing about. There was never any question. Annie was my drug problem, and she was my number-one fan. God, she never wanted to leave.
King publishes his first collection of short stories in ‘Night Shift’. It includes his work originally published in Cavalier, Urbis, and Penthouse magazines, along with previously unpublished works.
Twenty-eight years after seven teenagers battled a haunting creature that preyed on children, the group returns as adults to finish what had begun nearly three decades ago as local children begin going missing yet again. They prepare to battle what is lurking in the sewer system as they try to make sure what they thought they’d defeated before was truly vanquished once and for all. In King’s It, the creature often takes form as a clown to attract children, making King one of the first people to paint clowns as a scary figure.
As I began to grow up I began to look at kids and I noticed that kids are all terrified of [clowns]. The parents say, “Aren’t the clowns funny, Johnny?”, and Johnny’s like “No! Get me the hell out of here!”
King’s Children of the Corn is adapted into a feature-length film. The tale was originally released as a short story in his compilation book, Night Shift. It’s a story of a twelve-year-old preacher who convinces all the kids in a rural neighborhood to kill everyone over eighteen for Jesus. King originally wrote the screen play for the film adaptation of Children of the Corn, but his version was thrown out due to having too much dialogue and back-story. Instead, a much more violent/gory version with more conventional narrative style was written by George Goldsmith and used for the film. Directed by Fritz Kiersch and starring Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton, the film grosses $14.5 million after being made on a minimal budget of $800 thousand.
John Carpenter directs the film adaptation of King’s novel, starring Keith Gordon. The film grosses $21 million after being made on a $9.7 million budget. King approved of all the work done on the film, apart from one major difference from his original novel. In King’s version, Christine was haunted by the spirit of a previous owner. In Carpenter’s version, the car is haunted from the very moment it’s built. When asked why he made Christine a 1958 Fury:
Because they’re almost totally forgotten cars. They were the most mundane fifties car that I could remember. I didn’t want a car that already had a legend attached to it like the fifties Thunderbird, the Ford Galaxies etc. […] Seriously, I don’t know how Chrysler feels about Christine, anymore than I know how the Ford Company feels about Cujo, in which a woman is stranded in a Pinto. But they should feel happy, because it’s a pretty lively car and it lasts a long time. It’s like a Timex watch, it takes a licking and goes on ticking.
After moving from Chicago to Maine, Dr. Louis Creed finds a cemetery the neighborhood kids created for the countless lives of cats and dogs a local high way has taken. Close by, Creed finds another cemetery in the form of an ancient Native American burial ground. After losing his family cat, he learns the connection between the two spooky burial plots.
King publishes a thriller of a boy’s new girlfriend and his jealousy-driven car. Dubbed Christine by it’s previous owner, the car is a junker that Arnie fixes up, accidentally making the car fall for him and ultimately try to push away any other woman in his life.
A once-friendly St. Bernard is bitten by a rabid bat and transformed into a murderous killing machine in King’s Cujo. King wrote the book during a period in his life of heavy drinking and recalls that he doesn’t remember writing the novel.
I wish I could remember enjoying the good parts as I put them down on the page.
Stanley Kubrick adapts King’s The Shining into a feature film starring Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall as young parents who move with their young son to a large abandoned hotel to be caretakers for the winter off season. The film grossed $44.4 million after being filmed for $19 million. The famous line proclaimed by Jack Torrence as he chops down a bathroom door, “Here’s Johnny!” was improved by Nicholson on the spot, originally being inspired by the introduction of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. King was disappointed with Kubrick’s decision not to film at the Stanley Hotel and did not like the adaptation, saying that his novel focused on main problems such as the disintegration of a family and the dangers of alcoholism, which, he believes, Kubrick completely ignored.
Parts of the film are chilling, charged with a relentlessly claustrophobic terror, but others fall flat. Not that religion has to be involved in horror, but a visceral skeptic such as Kubrick just couldn’t grasp the sheer inhuman evil of The Overlook Hotel. So he looked, instead, for evil in the characters and made the film into a domestic tragedy with only vaguely supernatural overtones. That was the basic flaw: because he couldn’t believe, he couldn’t make the film believable to others. What’s basically wrong with Kubrick’s version of The Shining is that it’s a film by a man who thinks too much and feels too little; and that’s why, for all its virtuoso effects, it never gets you by the throat and hangs on the way real horror should.
Carrie becomes the first of King’s novels to be adapted into a feature film. Directed by Brian Da Palma and starring Sissy Spacek and John Travolta, the film grosses $33.8 million after being filmed on a $1.8 million budget. King believed Da Palma depicted his character perfectly.
Carrie White is a sadly mis-used teenager, an example of the sort of person whose spirit is so often broken for good in that pit of man- and woman-eaters that is your normal suburban high school. But she’s also Woman, feeling her powers for the first time and, like Samson, pulling down the temple on everyone in sight at the end of the book.