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Stephen King has published 56 novels and 10 short story collections, which have been turned into dozens of movies and mini-series. Needless to say, not all of them are good! Films like Dreamcatcher and, more recently, last month’s The Dark Tower, didn’t quite work as big-budget King adaptations. Others, like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Brian De Palma’s Carrie (the the latter being the first King book to become a movie in 1976), are among the best films of the last century.
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It’s gotta be weird to have so many of your creations—these beloved characters you imagined into existence—suddenly brought to life by the likes of Tom Hanks and Jack Nicholson. But how does the author, who put so much blood and sweat into The Dark Tower—an epic fantasy series consisting of nearly 3,000 pages and eight books–feel when it’s turned into a single, PG-13-rated movie that completely flops at the box office?
The answer is, he doesn’t care, because he’s Stephen King!
Even with Carrie, my feeling was, ‘They’re gonna make this movie. If it’s a success, it will help me do what I want to do, which is to write books.’ When I was in college, I read something that stuck in my mind from James M. Cain, who did The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce. He did an interview near the end of his life where the reporter said, “They ruined your books for the movies,” and Cain snapped his head around and pointed at the bookshelf and said, “No they didn’t, they’re all right there.” In a way, the book is untouchable.
And that’s probably the safest attitude to have. No movie will change what’s already been devoured in print. Plus, as King puts it, he’s written so many successful books over the decades, his career isn’t hinging on one movie adaptation.
I’m always anxious to see what they do with it. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes you get pictures like the Children of the Corn sequels. I’ve been down this road before in the sense that a movie like Gerald’s Game or 1922, it’s easy to say, “This would be really difficult to make into a movie,” but I felt that way about Cujo and they did a terrific job, so you never know what’s going to happen … I think part of my laissez-faire attitude comes from a) I’m doing okay financially so I can afford to take a risk, and b) I’ve been…