Today, Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican has an excellent little post up about the various Stephen King/Steven Spielberg collaborations that almost happened over the years, most notably an adaptation of King and Peter Straub's 1984 novel, The Talisman.
For those not in the know: The Talisman revolves around a young boy by the name of Jack Sawyer, who sets off on an epic quest across both America and a fantastical, alternate-dimension version of America in an attempt to save his dying mother. It's a book filled with monsters and magic and a whole lotta heart - precisely the sort of ingredients Spielberg might be attracted to - but its sheer size (the book's almost 1,000 pages long) has proven to be quite the stumbling block for anyone wishing to adapt it.
Spielberg purchased the rights to the book prior to its publication and tinkered with a film version over the years (at one point it almost became a limited series on TNT), but the project never managed to make it over the starting line.
According to Spielberg, that does not mean the project is dead. In fact:
“I feel that in the very near future, that’s going to be our richest collaboration. Universal bought the book for me, so it wasn’t optioned. It was an outright sale of the book. I’ve owned the book since ’82, and I’m hoping to get this movie made in the next couple of years. I’m not committing to the project as a director, I’m just saying that it’s something that I’ve wanted to see come to theaters for the last 35 years.”
That's right: Spielberg's Talisman adaptation is still very much in play. This actually isn't that surprising to hear - the runaway success of Andy Muschietti's IT made Stephen King adaptations hot again, as evidenced by the numerous King projects currently in development: the IT sequel will arrive next year, the team behind Starry Eyes is working on a new version of Pet Sematary, James Wan recently announced his intention to produce a new version of The Tommyknockers, and - just between you and me - this writer has also heard intriguing rumblings about an as-yet-unannounced classic King adaptation, headed our way from a director whose name you will definitely recognize.
In other words: if they're going to adapt The Talisman, now'd be the time to do it. Questions remain about how you'd go about doing this (from where we're standing, you'd need at least two films to cover the book's sprawling narrative), but if anyone has the juice to work that out, it's gotta be Spielberg. Here's hoping this actually happens.
Stay tuned for more as it becomes available.