Since Brian De Palma’s Carrie, the prolific Stephen King has been given all sorts of adaptations of his novels and short stories for almost 50 years now, and Hollywood continues to place more of his stories in development for movies and television. Yet somehow one of his earliest works has yet to hit the big screen. There have been whispers about the 1979 novel The Long Walk getting its moment for over a decade.
Last year, it was finally announced that Scary Stories in the Dark director André Øvredal was going to direct James Vanderbilt’s The Long Walk script, but it’s been some time since we’ve caught up with the project. While speaking to ComingSoon, Øvredal provided an optimistic update on how The Long Walk is coming along. In his words:
It’s alive and well and moving along.
According to André Øvredal, the Zodiac screenwriter apparently wrote his adaptation to The Long Walk before New Line Cinema acquired the rights to the book out of his own pure love for the story. Stephen King’s novel follows 100 teenage boys who are selected to go on a long walk where they must maintain a speed of four miles an hour. If they break the rules of the walk, they will be shot on sight. The winner is promised anything he wishes for the rest of his life.
During the interview, André Øvredal said this hold-up has to do with COVID-19 “just wrecking everything.” The filmmaker was also tapped to make the sequel for last summer’s Scary Stories in the Dark earlier this year, which he said is “a little more relaxed” in light of the ongoing pandemic. Øvredal sounds like he has his work cut out for him, with “a great new story” for Scary Stories 2, and Dan and Kevin Hageman on board to write the script again.
It’s an especially great time for The Long Walk to be in development with more exciting young adult adaptations in the works than usual after a number of flops on the genre’s end. Lionsgate is working on a new Hunger Games movie based off a prequel that was released in spring, for one. The Long Walk was the first novel King worked on, since he began writing the story as a freshman in college eight years before his first published book, Carrie, hit bookshelves in 1974.
Stephen King has been critical about specific adaptations of his work, from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining to the cancelled CBS show Under the Dome, and we’d guess the adaptation of one of his first ideas would remain close to his heart as well. Also coming up from King’s mind to screen is a CBS All-Access series based on The Stand and a new Children of the Corn movie, among many others.