John Cusack has a new co-star for the almost end of the world. Benaroya Pictures and The Genre Company said today that Samuel L. Jackson has joined their adaptation of Stephen King’s novel CELL. Jackson plays Tom McCourt, an engineer and former soldier who with Cusack’s Clay Riddell character flees from Boston as the world turns mad thanks to the phones. The pic focuses on the fallout when a powerful signal is broadcast across cell phone networks worldwide. The signal re-programs the users’ minds and makes them murderous beasts. Tod “Kip” Williams is directing the thriller based on King’s 2006 apocalyptic horror bestseller with financing from Benaroya. Production is set to start early next year. King co-wrote the screenplay with Last House On The Left’s Adam Alleca. International Film Trust will be presenting the project to buyers at AFM starting this week. Richard Saperstein, Michael Benaroya, Brian Witten and Shara Kay are producing CELL, and Cusack is executive producing. Paradigm represents Stephen King, and is co-representing the film for the U.S. market with CAA, which represents Benaroya and Cusack. Williams is repped by ICM Partners. Jackson is repped by ICM Partners, Anonymous Content, and attorney Jeffrey Bernstein of Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein.
Fans of the Syfy supernatural drama won’t have to wait until Haven returns for a fourth season on September 13 to learn what happened right after the explosive Season 3 finale. The Season 3 DVD set of the series will include an exclusive Haven: After The Storm mini-graphic novel. With 100,000 copies printed, the 16-page comic details the immediate aftershock of the meteor-falling season ender on the mysterious town of Haven, Maine. Among other things, that finale saw FBI agent-turned-local cop Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) and the Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour) character disappear into a vanishing barn. The DVD set comes out on September 3, and the graphic novel won’t be available anywhere else. The “Thanks For The Memories” episode of the eOne- and Big Motion Pictures-produced series, based on Stephen King’s 2005 novella The Colorado Kid, aired on January 17. The upcoming Season 4 of Haven actually picks up six months after the events of Season 3 finale, so the graphic novel partially bridges the gap between cycles.
BREAKING: Warner Bros has set Scott Cooper to re-write and direct The Stand, the seminal post-apocalyptic Stephen King novel. That means that while the studio has Ben Affleck as its new Caped Crusader for Batman Vs. Superman, Affleck has withdrawn from The Stand. He had been set in late 2011 to write the script and direct. Affleck is busy directing and starring in his scripted adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night for Warner Bros.
Warner Bros is teamed on the project with CBS Films, which is co-producing and co-presenting and possibly financing the project together. Dave Kajganich wrote the first draft. Published in 1978, the mammoth novel covered a biological apocalyptic disaster that decimated the population. The survivors then had to try and piece together a new form of humanity and it became a good vs evil struggle, with elements of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. King was at his best, both in creating depictions of the demise of civilization and in the arcs of characters good and bad who became important in a new order. The novel is so sprawling that I always wondered how it could be compressed into a feature, and it was turned into a solid miniseries. Now, Cooper will try to mount what for Warner Bros continues to be a big priority project.
New York was named Magazine of The Year by the American Society of Magazine Editors last night, while National Geographic took four Ellies, including a pair for digital media. Among the notables honored: The Mother Jones exclusive that featured the now-infamous “Romney 47 percent” video that helped define the 2012 presidential election won in the Video category, and The Atlantic won for Website. Stephen King won his second National Magazine Award, this one for the Harper’s Magazine fiction piece “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation”. Here’s the full list of winners:
NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS 2013 WINNERS
Magazine of the Year
Adam Moss, Editor in Chief
Ben Williams, Online Editorial Director
May 28, October 22 and November 12 Print and iPad Editions
EXCLUSIVE: Tate Taylor, who launched his writing and directing career by getting the option on The Help before author Kathryn Stockett was done writing it, has gotten himself on the ground floor of another sure-fire bestseller. Taylor has been granted an option by Stephen King to adapt and direct Joyland, the King novel that will be published in June. Taylor will adapt to direct, and John Norris will produce through his Wyolah Films banner. Taylor will also produce.
Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of a college student who moonlights as a carnival worker. There, he confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will forever change his life. It’s got all the makings of a King potboiler, with crime, mystery, ghosts and a creepy carnival setting. The book is being published through Hard Case Crime, the line of pulp-styled crime paperbacks published by Titan Books.
Among the barrage of pilot pickups this evening, CBS closed two casting deals for Under The Dome, its 13-episode summer series from Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. Natalie Martinez and Alex Koch have joined the show based on King’s bestselling 2009 novel. Under The Dome is set in Chester’s Mill, a small New England town suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome. The town’s inhabitants must deal with surviving the post-apocalyptic conditions while searching for answers to what this barrier is, where it came from and if and when it will go away.
CBS Orders ‘Under The Dome’ Series From Steven Spielberg & Stephen King; Neal Baer To Run, Niels Arden Oplev To Direct
In a departure from its signature drama procedurals, CBS has given a 13-episode straight-to-series order to Steven Spielberg and Stephen King‘s Under The Dome, a drama based on King’s bestselling 2009 novel, which will be produced by Spielberg’s Amblin Television. The series will air next summer and will mark CBS’ biggest effort with original scripted fare in the off-season in years with Under The Dome and Unforgettable. Under The Dome tells the story of a small New England town suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome. The town’s inhabitants must deal with surviving the post-apocalyptic conditions while searching for answers to what this barrier is, where it came from and if and when it will go away. I hear the project’s writer Brian K. Vaughan (Lost) kept the general conceit and many of the characters from the book but also introduced new characters as regulars and tweaked some details and backstory for the existing ones. I hear King has blessed all the changes. As for the book’s much-talked-about ending, which has divided King fans, I hear the series won’t follow it, and as in success, CBS would like to do another season.
CBS landed Under The Dome in turnaround. The supernatural thriller was originally set up at pay cable sibling Showtime in August 2011. When Amblin sensed the project was not moving forward at Showtime, they asked the network to release it and took it out to the broadcast networks. In an effort to keep the show in the family, Showtime entertainment president David Nevins, who liked the project despite feeling it was not right for Showtime, recommended it to his CBS counterpart Nina Tassler, who was interested. The network subsequently laid the show off at CBS TV Studios, which will produce it with Amblin; attached veteran Neal Baer, who is under an overall deal at CBS Studios, as showrunner; and brought in original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo helmer Niels Arden Oplev to direct the first episode. The network has history with Oplev — in his U.S. debut, he directed the pilot of the CBS procedural Unforgettable, which coincidentally will be Under The Dome‘s companion on the CBS summer schedule unless the network changes its plans. “This is a great novel coming to the television screen with outstanding auspices and in-season production values to create a summer programming event,” Tassler said.
EXCLUSIVE: Hot off an $18 million opening-weekend gross of Sinister that was six times its $3 million budget, Jason Blum‘s Blumhouse has teamed with Sinister director and co-writer Scott Derrickson on a screen adaptation of the Stephen King novella The Breathing Method. They’ve secured an option on King’s work from the author, and the script will be written by Scott Teems. They haven’t yet set it for financing.
The novella was part of the 1982 King collection Different Seasons and is the only story in the volume that hasn’t been adapted. If focuses on an elderly physician named Dr. Emlyn McCarron, who recounts an incident in his career of a patient who was determined to give birth to her illegitimate child, despite her financial difficulties and the social stigma in the 1930s. The patient turns to the doctor because of the book he has written about the Breathing Method, a system to help women through childbirth. She grows close with the doctor, who finds that she is so determined to have the child through the method that she lingers on even after a horrific accident on the way to the hospital.
Tom Holland has signed on to adapt and direct The Ten O’clock People, a feature adaptation of a short story by Stephen King. Holland and King previously collaborated on The Langoliers and Thinner. Holland took an extended hiatus, then returned to directing in 2007 in the Masters Of Horror series for Showtime. He’s writing and directing Twisted Tales, a series of shorts for FearNet, and plans for The Ten O’clock People to be his first theatrical since Thinner, which King wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.
The Ten O’clock People comes from a short story published in King’s 1993 Nightmares And Dreamscapes collection. Set in Boston, the story follows Brandon Pearson, who in trying to kick his smoking habit uncovers a frightening aspect of reality that he plans to extinguish through extreme measures.
BREAKING: After meeting and reading a group of young actresses for Carrie, MGM, Screen Gems and director Kim Peirce have made their decision and made the formal offer today to Chloe Moretz. If negotiations work out, she’ll play the title role in the remake of the Brian DePalma original that was based on the 1974 Stephen King bestseller. She’s expected to play the shy high school student Carrie White, who is raised by a nightmarish religious fanatic mother, and comes to grip with devastating telepathic powers just as she reaches puberty. She eventually uses those gifts for lethal means when fellow classmates use the prom as an excuse to humiliate her before the entire school in a parable about bullying. Sissy Spacek played the character in the first movie, with Piper Laurie playing her mother, and Amy Irving, Nancy Allen, John Travolta, Betty Buckley and William Katt rounding out the cast. Both Spacek and Laurie got Oscar nominations for their work in the 1976 film.