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'Institute' to 'Talisman' | A look at upcoming Stephen King shows and films

Hollywood has adapted the works of Maine's most famous author since 1976, and Tinseltown doesn't seem sick of Stephen King yet.
Credit: AP
FILE - Author Stephen King arrives at federal court before testifying for the Department of Justice as it bids to block the proposed merger of two of the world's biggest publishers, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, Aug. 2, 2022, in Washington. Through the first week of trial, top publishing executives at Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and elsewhere, along with agents and such authors as Stephen King have shared opinions, relived disappointments and revealed numbers they otherwise would have preferred to discuss privately or confide on background with reporters. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

BANGOR, Maine — Stephen King's latest book is called "Fairy Tale," and while he continues to write, Hollywood continues to turn his works into TV shows and films. 

From "The Institute" to "The Talisman," below is a list of some upcoming film and TV projects adapting works from Maine's most famous author. 

The Institute

Published in 2019, "The Institute" is being developed into a limited television series by David E. Kelley and Jack Bender, who both worked on the "Mr. Mercedes" TV series -- another show based on King's work. 

Book Synopsis: 

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’ parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at the Institute in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents — telekinesis and telepathy — who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and 10-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

The Talisman

Co-written by King and Peter Straub, "The Talisman" was published in 1984. The Duffer Brothers (the creative minds behind Netflix's popular series "Stranger Things") are working on an adaptation for the streaming giant. Their announcement came in July. 

Book Synopsis: 

Twelve-year-old Jack Sawyer embarks on an epic quest -- a walk from the seacoast of New Hampshire to the California coast -- to find the talisman that will save his dying mother's life. Jack's journey takes him into the Territories, a parallel medieval universe, where most people from his own universe have analogs called "twinners." The queen of the Territories, Jack's mother's twinner, is also dying.

Salem's Lot

"Salem's Lot" is King's second novel. It's about a writer who returns to his hometown and discovers the population is being turned into vampires. A miniseries aired in 1979, with another made in 2004.

In 2019, New Line Cinema announced a movie adaptation was being developed. Although scheduled to debut in September, the film was delayed and currently has no set release date

Book Synopsis: 

Author Ben Mears returns to Salem's Lot to write a book about a house that has haunted him since childhood, only to find his isolated hometown infested with vampires. While the vampires claim more victims, Mears convinces a small group of believers to combat the undead.

Trailer for the 1979 adaptation: 

Mr. Harrigan's Phone

Releasing on Netflix on Oct. 5, "Mr. Harrigan's Phone" is a novella published in the story collection "If It Bleeds." 

Movie Synopsis: 

In "Mr. Harrigan’s Phone," Jaeden Martell plays Craig, a young man who befriends a reclusive billionaire named Mr. Harrigan (played by Donald Sutherland, of Ordinary People and The Hunger Games fame). Tragically, Mr. Harrigan is not long for this world. (That’s not a spoiler, we promise). When the old man passes away, Craig soon finds he’s able to communicate with his deceased friend via Mr. Harrigan’s titular phone. What happens next has to be seen to be believed.

Billy Summers

JJ Abrams' company Bad Robot is working on a "Billy Summers" series, likely totaling 10 episodes. The book was published in August 2021.

Book Synopsis: 

Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He’s a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he’ll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first, there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong? How about everything?

The Running Man

Director Edgar Wright is developing a new film based on "The Running Man," which King published under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. The book was previously adapted into a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987. 

Book Synopsis: 

It is 2025, and reality TV has progressed to the point where people are willing to wager their lives in exchange for a chance at enormous wealth. Ben Richards is desperate -- he needs money to treat his daughter's illness. His last chance is entering a game show called "The Running Man," where the objective is to elude police and specially trained trackers for a month. The reward is a cool billion dollars. The catch is that everyone else on the planet is watching and willing to turn him in for a reward. 

Trailer for the 1987 adaptation: 

Fairy Tale

Even though it's been out for a couple of weeks, "Fairy Tale" is already getting an adaptation from director Paul Greengrass

Book Synopsis: 

Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself — and his dad. Then, when Charlie is 17, he meets a dog named Radar and his aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.

Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world. 

For a complete list of King's works in progress, check out IMDb. 

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