Steven Spielberg Still Very Much Plotting Adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘The Talisman’
We’ve been blessed with many fantastic collaborations over the years, but there’s still one that I’m dying to see: Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. The former has owned the latter’s fantasy-horror novel The Talisman for over three decades, and the highly-desirable (and super ambitious) Beard x King collab has almost come to fruition a few times — before ultimately hitting one roadblock or another. But according to Spielberg himself, his adaptation of The Talisman is still very much in the works.
In fact, as he tells Entertainment Weekly, he feels like it’ll happen “in the very near future”:
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.
As Spielberg notes, he doesn’t merely hold the rights to the sprawling epic that King co-wrote with fellow horror master Peter Straub — he outright owns the book, so it’s not going anywhere without his say-so.
Published in 1984, The Talisman centers on Jack Sawyer, a young boy who embarks on an epic journey that takes him across the country and simultaneously through a parallel fantasy land known as “the Territories” to find a mystical talisman that can save his dying mother. The book is complementary to another King epic: The Dark Tower. In fact, as diehard King heads will happily tell you, the two are somewhat connected; Jack is essentially the alternate dimension doppelgänger (or “twinner,” in King-speak) of Jake Chambers, the young protagonist from The Dark Tower.
I wouldn’t expect any film or television adaptation of The Talisman to maintain that connection, which is never made explicit in either book, anyway. The Talisman is over at Universal, where King’s Amblin Entertainment has been trying to find a way to bring it to life for a few decades. Back in 2017, New Mutants director Josh Boone was hired to write the screenplay — not particularly surprising given that Boone is a massive King fan and has been working to adapt a few King books for the last several years (including The Stand, which is now reportedly set to become a limited series for CBS All-Access).
It’s unclear if Boone’s script is still in play, but it looks like King is eager to finally bring this collaboration to the masses. Spielberg and The Talisman is truly a perfect pairing, and one we hopefully won’t have to wait much longer to see.