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It's a risk to option a book that hasn't even hit shelves yet, but it's one that paid off for The Help director Tate Taylor, who picked up the option for Kathryn Stockett's book before it became a hit. When it comes to authors putting out a popular book, Stephen King's probably a pretty safe bet. But on the other hand, adapting one of King's books for the big (or small) screen is a lofty task, and we've seen varying degrees of success in those adaptations, from Dreamcatcher (don't judge that book by its movie) to the more successful adaptations like The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption. Where will Joyland fall on that scale? It looks like we'll eventually find out.
Deadline says Taylor has been granted an option by Stephen King to adapt and direct the upcoming novel, which is set to hit shelves in June. The story is set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973 and tells the story Devin Jones, a college student who takes a summer job at the park and ends up confronting "the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever."
Taylor captured the Civil Rights era in the 1960's rather well in The Help. It'll be interesting to see how he does with the 70's. Period piece aside, there's definitely a genre shift here for the director. And for the readers, if this book turns out to be half as scary as some of King's past novels, those of us who feared clowns after reading It (or seeing the miniseries) may have to worry about what this story will do to our perception of amusement parks.
Deadline points out that Taylor has some other projects in the works, including a James Brown biopic, however King is known to option his books for little money, "but with a ticking clock," which might mean this one will be pushed up to the front burner for the director.
Among the other King adaptations coming up is Kimberly Peirce's Carrie adaptation (due out October 18) and Brian K. Vaughan's Under the Dome series, which premieres on CBS next month.
As we reported when Joyland was first announced, it will not be available on eBook right away. King's preference for paperbacks apparently led to this decision and as he put it, "Folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book." I'm thinking a lot of people will, even those of us who are partial to our Kindles (or other eReaders). Amazon has the paperback available for pre-order for the low price of $7.39. It's out June 4.