It’s too many big entertainment names to fit in one headline: Steven Spielberg, Matt and Ross Duffer, and the Duffers’ Stranger Things colleague Curtis Gwinn are at work on a series adaptation of The Talisman, the novel by Stephen King and Peter Straub. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Spielberg has been trying for years to develop this story. In 1982, before the book was even published, he acquired the screen rights in perpetuity. At long last, the adaptation is underway.
Curtis Gwinn, who was a writer and co-executive producer on Stranger Things, will be writer and showrunner for the series, which is about a boy on a quest to save his dying mother. Here’s the novel’s summary:
Jack Sawyer, twelve years old, is about to begin a most fantastic journey, an exalting, terrifying quest for the mystical Talisman—the only thing that can save Jack’s dying mother. But to reach his goal, Jack must make his way not only across the breadth of the United States but also through the wondrous and menacing parallel world of the Territories.
In the Territories, Jack finds another realm, where the air is so sweet and clear a man can smell a radish being pulled from the ground a mile away—and a life can be snuffed out instantly in the continuing struggle between good and evil. Here Jack discovers “Twinners,” reflections of the people he knows on earth—most notably Queen Laura, the Twinner of Jack’s own imperiled mother. As Jack “flips” between worlds, making his way westward toward the redemptive Talisman, a sequence of heart-stopping encounters challenges him at every step.
The show will be a Netflix production, created with Paramount Television Studios and Spielberg’s Amblin Television. The Duffers (who are busy prepping season four of Stranger Things) and Stephen King are among the executive producers.
King’s work is a seemingly endless well for adaptation; Apple TV’s Lisey’s Story is expected to air later this year; the latest TV version of The Stand just ended; and last year HBO aired an adaptation of The Outsider, to name just a few. Last month it was announced that Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) will direct an upcoming reboot of The Running Man. Straub’s work was last adapted in the 1981 film Ghost Story. The pair teamed up in 2001 for a sequel to The Talisman called Black House.
There’s no word yet on casting or release date for The Talisman.