It’s 2016 and I’ve made many resolutions. None of them included to stop bombarding you with Stephen King “movie” news. Actually, aside from Cary Joji Fukunaga leaving the new It adaptation, the news has all been pretty solid of late. Which is great because King is one of our finest storytellers and his books give themselves over to adaptations easily. The problem is, studios and screenwriters either truncate his work to the point of pointlessness or leave out the cool stuff and just leave the bare bones. No pun intended.
Above is the trailer for the adaptation of by far King’s best book in a decade or two, 11.22.63 and I’m excited. For several reasons. One, that’s a solid cast. While the ubiquitous James Franco is pretty hit and miss, Chris Cooper is always great and Sara Gadon is breathtaking and talented. Second, this is a mini-series which honestly, is the best format for King novels. Plus, freeking J.J. Abrams is producing it!
The way I figure it, the “best” King adaptations are the dramatic ones (Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile, Misery) but the only thing hampering the truly excellent mini-series’ of The Stand, It and to some extent Salem’s Lot is that they haven’t aged well and were constricted by the guidelines of 1980’s network TV. Now there’s these video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu (the latter of which is presenting 11.22.63) which allow more freedom of expression. In other words, more ability to show blood, nudity and have swearing. Plus the news of The Stand, It and The Gunslinger playing out over multiple films falls in line with this more is more when it comes to King.
The last point relates to the beginning; 11.22.63 is a really, really good book. It’s about a man who finds a way to travel back in time and decides to stop the Kennedy assassination. He’s not supposed to mess with history in any other way but, he does. The book is King at his very best in that there’s terrific, relatable, flawed characters doing their best in a weird situation. There’s scary moments, violence and sweetness. If one of your 2016 resolutions is to read more, get on 11.22.63 so you can finish in time for the series which premieres February 15 on Hulu which, if you don’t have a subscription already, you can try free for 30 days….soo….see what I’m saying here…..