Not too long ago, the BMD crew got together for one of our weekly Picks columns, and selected which Stephen King books we'd love to see adapted into a movie next. Being forever #onbrand, I chose the 1979 "Bachman Book" The Long Walk - a piece of fiction I've been dying to see on the big screen since I first read it at fourteen:
"...Richard Bachman’s The Long Walk (I don’t credit King with those novels, mind you, as they truly do feel as if they came from another author entirely) envisions a world in which Germany became the primary power following WWII. This of course means one thing: fascism. So, to go along with this new brutal police state, the entertainment we as a world enjoy involves watching kids participate in a marathon, where the losers are viciously murdered should they not be able to keep pace with their competitors. It’s a savage companion piece to Bachman’s The Running Man, and further proof that King was using his own personal Richard Stark to work some seriously dark shit out.
Frank Darabont had been working on an adaptation for years, and it’s difficult not to hope he still is. In a post-Trump America (which already borders on resembling the sociopathic totalitarian state written about in this novel), The Long Walk possesses a prescience that’s difficult to shake, and even more difficult to comprehend when you consider the author first penned the tome before his alter-ego conceived Carrie. This makes sense, though, as The Long Walk is certainly the product of an angry young man, witnessing his country getting torn apart by a confusing conflict of its own (the original draft is said to have been completed in ’67, so you do the math as to where this college freshman’s head was at). Forty years later, and shit hasn’t changed one bit. The scenery’s just a little different and our leader’s hair, a little worse. Now all they have to do is update the tech, and the movie would feel like a fucking documentary."
Well, it feels like someone might've been listening to my plea (after all these goddamn years), as New Line Cinema is plowing ahead and putting The Long Walk into development. The bad news? Frank Darabont is no longer penning the script. However, the latest draft is reportedly coming from James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), so at least they've got a really solid scribe filling his seat.
New Line is obviously looking to keep the money train rolling after their massive success with IT (which they worked on in conjunction with Warner Bros). Now, here's the main question: who the hell do you get to direct this savagely angry tale? Personally, I'd love to see someone like John Hillcoat behind the lens, but I can be convinced otherwise.
Sound off in the comments with your own selections, and if you've never read The Long Walk, remedy that shit post haste.