For as long as I have been reading movie blogs (estimated duration: 7,000 years), Hollywood has been trying to get a feature film adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub's The Talisman off the ground. All attempts have failed. Maybe it's the subject matter, which puts its lead character - a twelve year old boy - in dark, frequently deadly situations. Maybe it's the sheer scope of the thing. Maybe, in years past, Hollywood just wasn't convinced that a big-budget take on this particular property could justify the (presumably) enormous cost of bringing it to the screen. Whatever the case may be, The Talisman has long been a nut Hollywood's been unable to crack.
Until, it appears, now.
According to Collider, Amblin Entertainment has hired Mike Barker - best known for his work on Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale - to direct a big-screen adaptation of King and Straub's seemingly-unadaptable epic. He'll be working from a script by Chris Sparling (Buried), and the film will be produced by Frank Marshall and Marshall Wright. As far as we can tell, this is actually happening.
For those unfamiliar with the source material, The Talisman tells the story of Jack Sawyer, a young boy given the power to flip from our reality into another one - The Territories, a world much like our own, with a few notable differences. Jack must use this power to go on a truly epic quest to save his dying mother, and along the way he befriends a giant werewolf, gets sent to a horrifying boarding school for troubled kids, and avoids capture by the villainous Morgan Sloat. In practice, The Talisman is very similar to King's Dark Tower series (there's even a few explicit connections between those properties), with a bit less of a focus on sci-fi elements. It's a helluva read.
Will The Talisman work as a movie? Well, Sparling certainly has enough material to fashion into a film, even if it means jettisoning some of the novel's lengthier interludes and subplots. There's so much to get through that one can't help but believe The Talisman would work better as a limited series (they'd even have a sequel to pull from, King and Straub's Black House, if they wanted to do a second season), but of course a reasonably faithful film version isn't completely out of the question. I'll say this: I don't envy some of the choices Sparling's gonna have to make in writing that script (and, on a personal note, if they drop the Sunlight Gardener stuff I'm gonna be pissed).
Needless to say, we're extremely excited about this one and will be keeping our ear to the ground for further updates. Stay tuned, folks.