A decent Stephen King adaptation has always been popular in Hollywood, and that doesn’t seem to be easing off as we head into 2017. With epic horror novels It and The Dark Tower being converted to the big screen, and a fair amount of publicity currently generating massive buzz for both projects, it comes as little surprise that another Stephen King book is currently being worked for an adaptation. However, this one may be headed down a slightly different route.
Gerald’s Game, a 1992 suspense novel by horror maestro King, is next on the slate for a screen makeover. Mike Flanagan has been touting an adaptation of the disturbing novel for a couple of years now, with little success, but due to the popularity of his recent horror movie, Hush, which was acquired by Netflix for worldwide distribution before release, the streaming company are now eager to bring the director back for another movie. So is Gerald’s Game the one? It seems to be the case.
According to horror website Rue Morgue, Mike Flanagan has been approached to bring Gerald’s Game to life on the small screen, with Netflix leading the charge. The director has a personal passion for the novel, and has stated his intention to do the project justice.
“Netflix, because of how well Hush has done, said, ‘We’re really interested in this, and we’d like to do it the way you want to do it.’ And that eliminated the pressure of having to test-screen the movie and define the demographic that’s going to watch it—all of that stuff that typically comes into the conversation when you’re trying to figure out how to market a film for a wide theatrical release. It just cleared the table, so that I can make the movie I want to make. I’m hoping very much that we can get that movie up on its feet soon.”
Flanagan stated how he has been working on Gerald’s Game for a couple of years, but due to the nature of the novel itself, he found it difficult to find a studio willing to take it on. Some even suggested changing the format of the movie completely, which would drastically change the unique narrative of the plot, but he refused. In 2014, during an interview with Deadline, the Oculus director revealed that the film was being earmarked for Cannes, but it seems these details have now changed. Recent events have confirmed that the project is very much on — despite the difficult subject matter.
If you’re familiar with the novel, you will know that the book takes place in one single room. A married couple go to a secluded cabin in Maine, and in an attempt to spice up their sex life, the husband (the Gerald of the title) handcuffs his wife to the bed. During the sexual “game,” he falls onto the floor, cracks his head, and has a heart attack, leaving the woman alone and trapped. With little hope of rescue, and circumstances out of her control, the voices inside her head begin to take over.
It’s certainly a risque topic, especially for avid cinema goers. However, on Netflix, Gerald’s Game would have the perfect platform to shine; the streaming service has produced some excellent TV and films in its time, and isn’t afraid of the more challenging material. Aside from that, the setting of one single room would challenge even the greatest of filmmakers. Flanagan has already showed he can draw moments of dread and terror from a solitary location. With Hush, he had a single house and a deaf woman at his disposal. Could he minimize slightly to make Gerald’s Game work? It certainly seems like an interesting proposition.
Flanagan also explained how he hates to see a Stephen King adaptation done poorly, and it’s this sole reason he could bring Gerald’s Game to vivid life. His passion for the project is paramount, and he refused to buckle to studio pressure already, a rarity in modern cinema. Even though the Netflix business model is completely different, their broader range of content bodes well for such an adaptation. The director is committed to doing the project right, and will only budge if he can do it his way. He isn’t interested in commercial viability, he just wants to make the movie the way it should be; loyal to the source material. This can only bring one result: fans will love this project should it get the green light.
So Stephen King adaptations are still hot business. It’s been over 30 years since King first made his mark on Hollywood, and it doesn’t look to be stopping. Now, we’ll eagerly await any update for Gerald’s Game. Potential casting details should make for interesting reading, too.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]