It’s only been ten months since a Stephen King film was playing in theaters, but we’re already just two months away from the next. Once upon a time that year-long wait between adaptations would have seemed crazy– back in the ’80s and early ’90s there were frequently two or three of them in the multiplexes simultaneously — but he hasn’t been nearly as ubiquitous onscreen in the 21st century. There have only been nine feature films based on his work since 2000, and pretty much only one of them is worth a damn.
His latest stab at the box-office is A Good Marriage, a film written by King from his own short story. The always fantastic Joan Allen plays a woman who discovers her loving husband (Anthony LaPaglia) may just be a serial killer. There’s no shortage of movies about couples, secrets and the possibility that one of them might be a murderer, but the ones that work best (Presumed Innocent, Jagged Edge) succeed in part because of the mystery and suspense as to whether the person is guilty.
The first trailer for A Good Marriage seems uninterested in taking that route.
Check out the uninspired trailer below and keep reading to see what other films King has in the adaptation pipeline.
Am I wrong that this looks pretty meh? I’ll watch anything with Allen in it, and while I think years of TV procedurals have dulled LaPaglia a bit he’s always been a reliable performer as well. The story just feels simple and somewhat obvious in where it’s heading. Of course it’s impossible to judge a film based on a trailer, but there’s nothing compelling about this one. It’s director Peter Askin‘s fourth feature, but none of the other three inspire much in the way of confidence that he can deliver a memorable thriller. (To be fair, I say that simply because I’ve never heard of any of them.)
We’ll hope to be surprised come October, but if nothing else we still have other upcoming King films to look forward to in the relatively near future.
First up will be a TV movie called Big Driver, based on King’s novella and airing on Lifetime this fall. The story follows a bestselling mystery writer (Maria Bello) who is assaulted and left for dead only to recover and set out for revenge against her assailant. (Lifetime being the network for women and all that…) The supporting cast includes Olympia Dukakis, Ann Dowd and Joan Jett. More compelling though are the names behind the scenes. Richard Christian Matheson — yes yes the son of Richard Matheson but more importantly the screenwriter of the eternally awesome Three O’Clock High — wrote the script, and director Mikael Salomon is the man behind the epic Christian Slater/Morgan Freeman thriller Hard Rain. So yeah, I’ll be watching this one despite the terrible title and tired rape/revenge setup.
The first of two new feature films due is Mercy, based on King’s short story “Gramma” and produced by the nutty combination of McG and Blumhouse Productions. The original tale is pretty simple (but still wonderfully creepy) so expect the film’s story to have been fleshed out a bit. Director Peter Cornwell‘s only previous feature is The Haunting in Connecticut, so if nothing else he has horror chops capable of turning a profit. Worst case scenario, if the movie sucks we can all go watch The Twilight Zone adaptation of “Gramma” from 1986 (and scripted by Harlan Ellison). As for a release date, Universal currently has three release slots set aside for “Untitled Blumhouse Horror” features — September 25th 2015, January 8th 2016 and October 21st 2016 — so it’s unclear when this already completed film will hit theaters.
Finally, the long-awaited adaptation of Cell is finally on its way with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson in the lead roles as survivors of a pseudo zombie apocalypse triggered by a mysterious cell phone signal. This is a reunion of sorts for Cusack and Jackson as they worked together on another King adaptation, 1408. Eli Roth was attached to the project for a while before eventually being replaced by Paranormal Activity 2 helmer Tod Williams. The novel is a fun enough ride filled with silliness and gory kills, but the ending left a lot of people cold. King mentioned in 2009 that he had written the script and had changed the ending, but the current feature has a script by Adam Alleca (The Last House on the Left remake) so it’s unclear if that’s still the case.
Those three are it for completed or currently in post-production films, but the “In Development” section of King’s IMDB page is longer than most authors’ entire output. Reboots of The Stand, Pet Sematary, It, Firestarter and Creepshow are on there alongside numerous adaptations of King’s stories and novels.
A Good Marriage opens in theaters on October 3, 2014.
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