Fans of Stephen King’s work are experiencing a renaissance of sorts, with hit movies like IT and TV shows like Mr. Mercedes and the upcoming Castle Rock, with yet another classic King novel coming to the big screen. Director James Wan is teaming up with producer Roy Lee to bring the classic 1987 King novel The Tommyknockers to life. The novel was originally adapted as a two-part, three-hour mini-series in 1993, starring Jimmy Smits and Marg Helgenberger.
The Tommyknockers is set in the small town of Haven, Maine, where a young Western fiction writer named Bobbi Anderson discovers an alien spacecraft that has long been buried. Once it is unearthed, a mysterious gas is released into the town, which transforms the townsfolk of Haven, Maine into creatures similar to the aliens who once populated the ship. The afflicted are given super-human abilities, but they are also forced to stay in the town and are prone to violent outbursts. The other main character in the story is James Eric Gardener, a local poet who is immune to the gas, thanks to a steel plate in his head, who tries to stop the madness from spreading even more.
It remains to be seen how Stephen King himself responds to this adaptation, since the author revealed in a 2014 interview that it was an, “awful book,” and that it was the last book that he wrote before he “cleaned up his act,” after an eight-year stretch where he was addicted to cocaine. The author admitted in that interview that there is probably, “a good 350-page novel” within the original book, which spans 558 pages. If Stephen King ultimately becomes involved in this project, then perhaps it will give the author an opportunity to tell the story he really wanted to tell. Here’s what producer Larry Sanitsky, who produced the TV mini-series adaptation and still holds the rights to The Tommyknockers, had to say in an excerpt from a mission statement sent to prospective buyers.
“It is an allegorical tale of addiction (Stephen was struggling with his own at the time), the threat of nuclear power, the danger of mass hysteria and the absurdity of technical evolution run amuck. All are as relevant today as the day the novel was written. It is also a tale about the eternal power of love and the grace of redemption.”
The book is also the second best-selling Stephen King book of all time, and given the interest in King’s work following the blockbuster IT adaptation, which became the highest-grossing horror movie of all time last year, this project is expected to find a studio home, with the project being sent out to prospective buyers today. Larry Sanitsky is producing alongside both James Wan and Roy Lee through their Atomic Monster and Vertigo production companies, respectively. James Wan has his highly-anticipated Aquaman hitting theaters in December, while Roy Lee is also producing another Stephen King adaptation, The Stand, although it isn’t clear when that will move forward. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news on The Tommyknockers movie earlier today.