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Steven Versus Stephen! Spielberg Wants to Adapt King's 'The Talisman'

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Film | April 6, 2018 |

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Film | April 6, 2018 |

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Entertainment Weekly wrote this really interesting piece on the parallels between two of 20th century pop culture’s most defining and influential figures. 44 years ago on the very same day, horror maestro Stephen King released his first novel, and Oscar-winning blockbuster master Steven Spielberg debuted his first theatrical film. Both men are very prolific, beloved by audiences the world over, prone to their tics and have left behind an immeasurable shadow of influence on every creator who followed in their footsteps. Modern nostalgia is at least 15% King/Spielberg. Hell, what is Stranger Things if not a big Amblin-King fanfiction?

So it seems only right that the pair would properly team up for something. While Spielberg has a crap-ton of projects in the pipeline - including a new Indiana Jones movie and a remake of West Side Story - he’s also revealed that he is desperate to adapt The Talisman, the fantasy-horror novel King co-wrote with Peter Straub.

‘Several times he came very close to making it, and there were a lot of discussions about that,’ King said of the book, revealing that Spielberg has owned it since before it was even published. Not optioned: Owned. He literally owns the rights to it and has done so for over 35 years. Not too shabby. He previously tried to make it into a six-hour miniseries for TNT, which fell apart, and he’s once again trying to make it happen as a feature film. Nothing’s set in stone, but both Steves are eager for it to happen. I mean, it makes a hell of a lot more sense than that adaptation of The Tommyknockers that’s coming soon.

Here’s the synopsis for The Talisman, courtesy of Goodreads:

On a brisk autumn day, a twelve-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: his father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America—and into another realm.

One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written, The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery. Jack Sawyer, on a desperate quest to save his mother’s life, must search for a prize across an epic landscape of innocents and monsters, of incredible dangers and even more incredible truths. The prize is essential, but the journey means even more. Let the quest begin…

(Header photograph courtesy of Getty Images)

Kayleigh is a features writer and editor for Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter or listen to her podcast, The Hollywood Read.