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New Line Cinema, which made the big-screen version of Stephen King’s It, is staying in the King business, setting its sights on adapting his novel The Long Walk.
James Vanderbilt, who was behind the Robert Redford-Cate Blanchett drama Truth, has written the script to adapt the book, which King wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.
Vanderbilt will also produce with Bradley Fischer and William Sherak. Mythology Entertainment is the company behind the project and the company’s Tracey Nyberg will executive produce.
First published in 1979, Long Walk is set in a future dystopian America ruled by an authoritarian. The country holds an annual walking contest in which 100 teens must journey, non-stop and under strict rules, until only one of them is still standing alive to receive the prize. The story told of a 16-year-old walker named Raymond Garraty and the teens — some good, some bad, some mysterious — in his orbit.
Setting up the project is a culmination of over a decade’s work for Vanderbilt and Fischer. The two are fans of the book and were keen to bring it to the screen, but it was in development for years with writer-director Frank Darabont, who previously made the King-based projects The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist. Vanderbilt even wrote his initial drafts on spec several years ago, without having the screen rights. Those rights finally left Darabont, allowing the duo to pounce and bring them to New Line.
King is a hot commodity, thanks to the unexpected smash success of 2017’s It, which grossed $700 million worldwide. Paramount is remaking Pet Semetary, while his book The Tommyknockers just got set up at Universal with James Wan and Roy Lee producing after generating a bidding war.
Vanderbilt made a name for himself writing such action blockbusters as the Amazing Spider-Man movies and White House Down before making his directorial debut with 2015’s Truth, an intimate drama about the news story that cut short the career of Dan Rather. He is repped by WME.
Mythology is coming off of producing two horror movies, Slender Man, which is set to open in August, and Eli Roth’s The House With a Clock in Its Walls, which is slated to be released Sept. 21. It also produced the remake of Suspiria that was directed by Call Me By Your Name filmmaker Luca Guadagnino and stars Dakota Johnson.
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