Going back to the mid-1970s, adaptations of Stephen King stories have routinely been able to cast some of the most talented actors in Hollywood. From Jack Nicholson, to Kathy Bates, to Morgan Freeman, we've seen some of the best in the business bring to life the author's iconic characters. Sadly, one performer who has never been in one of King's movies or television shows is Jake Gyllenhaal – but it's been revealed that the writer now has a role in mind for the talented star.
Stephen King's latest book, Billy Summers, arrived on store shelves this week, and when recently talking about the tome with Rolling Stone, the subject of a potential adaptation was raised. He was asked if there is a particular actor he had in mind to play the titular role in the novel, should a live-action version be made in the next few years, and the author noted that he would be happy if the part were to go to Jake Gyllenhaal – whom he evidently feels doesn't get the credit he deserves. King said,
Well, given [Billy's] age, which is probably mid-forties, there are a lot of actors that could do that part very well. I think maybe the most underrated actor working right now is Jake Gyllenhaal and he’d made a wonderful Billy. But we’re just blue-skying here. There are a lot of people who would be good.
Billy Summers, which is Stephen King's second novel of 2021, is a thriller that centers on its eponymous character – a veteran assassin looking for a way out of the business. It's a lucrative gig, and can sleep at night because he has a rule about only taking out "bad guys," but he's ready for retirement. He plans for one final job, but when things to terrifically wrong he finds himself avenging the crimes of a monster.
Given that Jake Gyllenhaal is only 40 years old, this is a part that could potentially remain viable for him to play for the next decade/decade-and-a-half – but, frankly, it may not take that long for an adaptation to get made. Thinking back just a few years, Stephen King's The Outsider was published in spring 2018, and the first episode of the HBO series made based on it debuted in January 2020. We haven't specifically heard about any plans to make a live-action version of Billy Summers, but it's not outside the realm of possibility that we could hear about a studio picking up the rights as early as tomorrow.
For now, fans will just have to use their imaginations, and perhaps even keep Jake Gyllenhaal's face in mind while reading the new novel. Billy Summers is now available to purchase in hardcover from retailers, and the audiobook is also out, read by Castle Rock's Paul Sparks. And if you're excited about someday seeing an adaptation made, I'd recommend that you keep checking our regularly updated Upcoming Stephen King Movies and TV guide.