‘The Long Walk’ By Stephen King Gets Green Light From New Line Cinema, ‘Zodiac’ Team Signed To Write & Produce

While many tried to previously head the project, including George A. Romero and Frank Darabont, filmmakers James Vanderbilt and Bradley Fischer are excited to bring the Stephen King classic to the big screen.

Recent photo of Stephen King, author of The Long Walk.
Francois Mori / Associated Press

While many tried to previously head the project, including George A. Romero and Frank Darabont, filmmakers James Vanderbilt and Bradley Fischer are excited to bring the Stephen King classic to the big screen.

Per Hollywood Reporter, New Line Cinema will be creating the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Long Walk. New Line Cinema produced the 2017 film version of Stephen King’s It, the all-time highest-grossing horror film — earning over $700 million — and it looks like they’re not done bringing stories from “The King of Horror” to the big screen. The Long Walk was published in 1979 under King’s nom de plume, Richard Bachman.

Stephen King penned the book at 18-years-old during his freshman year at the University of Maine. Though it’s not his first published piece, it is the first book he ever wrote. While it was written very early in his career, many longtime fans still consider this to be some of his best work, calling it scary and unsettling.

The story is set in a dystopian future in America, ruled by a militaristic tyrant, and it’s centered on a deadly walking contest; being observed under severe guidelines, 100 teenagers must walk non-stop until only one is left standing alive to claim the prize. One of the strict rules includes the contestants having to keep a pace of four miles per hour or they get a warning. If they get three warnings then they’re immediately killed. The story is centered on 16-year-old participant Raymond Garraty and the peers in his surroundings.

Reportedly, George A Romero, of the Night of the Living Dead fame, was approached to direct the screen adaptation in 1988 but that never came to fruition. Frank Darabont, the screenwriter and director of three other movies based on Stephen King’s work (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist), had secured the rights for years but that fell to the wayside. Now filmmakers James Vanderbilt and Bradley Fischer, creators of the hit 2007 Zodiac, will be bringing the famed story to the big screen.

As the Hollywood Reporter article documented, creating this project is a finale of over a decade’s work for Vanderbilt and Fischer. Without even having the screen rights, Vanderbilt began his initial drafts of the screenplay (now complete) years ago. When Darabont lost the rights to the movie, the duo quickly acted and brought the rights to New Line Cinema. William Sherak (Suspiria 2018) will also produce the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Long Walk, and Tracey Nyberg (Slender Man 2018) will executive produce.