Ever since the blockbuster release of Andy Muschietti’s IT in 2017, it feels like it’s rare for more than a few weeks to go by without hearing about a new Stephen King project in the works. The author’s novels and stories have spiked in popularity, and film studios, TV networks, and streaming services have all been getting in on the action. We’ve heard about a number of projects being developed, including adaptations of King’s most recent books, but one of the productions now making the most significant steps forward is a live-action feature based on the short story “The Boogeyman.”
So what is The Boogeyman about? Who is making it? Who is starring in it? When will it be coming out? And how? If all of those questions are presently swimming around your head, this quick things guide is very much for you, as it’s entirely built around the attempt at answering all those queries. Let’s start by taking a trip back to the 1970s and do a quick recap of the Stephen King source material’s origins…
If You’re Planning To Read The Stephen King Short Story “The Boogeyman” First
“The Boogeyman” was first published in the adult magazine Cavalier in 1973, but it is best known for being a part of Night Shift, Stephen King’s first collection of short stories published in 1978. The story centers on a fragile man named Lester Billings who believes that his three young children have been murdered by a supernatural entity he calls The Boogeyman. He recounts how his offspring died to a psychiatrist named Dr. Harper, with specific focus on the protagonist’s failed efforts to preserve the life of his third baby, and the tale comes to an end with a deadly twist that confirms Lester’s worst fears.
It’s a quick tale of terror, and the film adaptation is set to change quite a lot from the source material. There is still a psychiatrist involved in the story, and Lester is a character (more on them in a bit), but the official plot description has confirmed that the plot is being changed significantly.
The Boogeyman Will Arrive In Theaters On June 2
While comedies and dramas have struggled at the box office since the pandemic, no genre is presently doing better in theaters right now than horror – and The Boogeyman looks prepped to wholly take advantage of that situation. The Stephen King adaptation will have some serious opening weekend competition, as June 2 is also the release date for the hotly anticipated Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse from Sony Pictures Animation, but it’s set up to be solid counterprogramming for more mature audiences and could do quite well if it’s able to build up enough positive word of mouth prior to and after release.
The Boogeyman’s First Trailer Is Seriously Scary
The very first trailer for The Boogeyman premiered during the NFL’s NFC Championship game in late January 2023, and it has us more excited than ever for the film. It looks dark and spooky and it looks like it is going to get quite clever with its scares (the light ball rolling under the bed is a great bit). Also, when you look at the footage frame-by-frame, you get to see some pretty wild creature design.
The Boogeyman’s Cast Includes Chris Messina, Sophie Thatcher, And More
It was in January 2022 that The Boogeyman started putting together its cast, and while not a great deal has been specifically revealed about the various characters in the story, the ensemble is full of talent.
Chris Messina Plays Will
Since making his feature film debut in 1998’s Rounders, Chris Messina has consistently proven himself to be a fantastic character actor, appearing in projects both for the big and small screens – his filmography including standout titles like Birds Of Prey, Sharp Objects, and The Mindy Project. In The Boogeyman he is playing Will, a psychiatrist who is a recent widower and father of two daughters.
Sophie Thatcher Plays Sadie
Sophie Thatcher’s name earned a great deal of buzz in 2022 thanks to her role on the hit Showtime series Yellowjackets, and she’ll be further adding to her genre credentials with her role in The Boogeyman. She’ll be playing Sadie, one of Will’s two daughters, but not much is known about the character beyond that.
Vivien Lyra Blair Plays Sawyer
Playing Will’s other daughter, Sawyer, in The Boogeyman is Vivien Lyra Blair. The young actor is only 10 years old, but already she has a number of standout titles and roles on her resume – including the 2018 thriller Bird Box, Robert Rodriguez’s We Can Be Heroes, and the Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi series (on which she played young Leia Organa).
David Dastmalchian Plays Lester
Amidst all of the deviations from Stephen King’s short story, The Boogeyman will at the very least include Lester as a character, and he will be played in the film by David Dastmalchian. We don’t really know much about his role in the movie other than the fact that he is one of Will’s patients and is aware of the titular child-eating monster, but we always expect greatness from the actor, whose recent credits include James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, and a recurring role on MacGyver.
Marin Ireland Plays Rita
Only very briefly featured in The Boogeyman trailer, Marin Ireland’s character in the film remains mostly a mystery, but hopefully that just sets us up for some surprises when the movie hits theaters. Ireland recently appeared in two episodes of the 2022 Julia Roberts series Gaslit (which also includes appearances from Chris Messina), and she has had significant roles on shows including The Umbrella Academy and Y: The Last Man. She even has some Stephen King experience under her belt, having recorded the audiobooks for the novels Sleeping Beauties (co-written by Owen King) and Gwendy’s Final Task (co-written by Richard Chizmar).
Rob Savage Is Directing The Boogeyman Based On A Script By Scott Beck, Bryan Woods And Mark Heyman
The Boogeyman first started making strides back in 2018 when A Quiet Place screenwriters Scott Beck and Bryan Woods became attached to write the script. Later in the project’s development, Mark Heyman – best known for penning Black Swan and The Skeleton Twins – came aboard to work on a new draft, but evidently he didn’t perform a page one rewrite. Beck and Woods are still receiving both Story By and Screenplay By credits for the movie.
Set to helm the film is Rob Savage, who was first announced as being attached back in November 2021. Savage is best known for his breakout 2020 Shudder exclusive Host – a screenlife feature that centers on a group of friends performing a séance over Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. Production on The Boogeyman began in early 2022.
The Boogeyman Was Supposed To Be A Hulu Original Before Test Screenings Changed Plans
When The Boogeyman first started making real strides towards getting into production, the plan was for the movie to exist as a Hulu exclusive… but that plan changed in January 2023. According to reports, the film performed so well in test screenings that it was decided to move its distribution from streaming to theaters. Hence, the movie will be playing on big screens everywhere starting June 2.
Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for all of the latest updates on The Boogeyman. In the meantime, you can check out our wide variety of Stephen King coverage. You can learn about the long history of King movies and television shows with my Adapting Stephen King column, and scope out our rankings of the best Stephen King films of all time. As for all of the other projects that are currently in the works in addition to The Boogeyman, you can keep track of them in our Upcoming Stephen King Movies and TV guide.
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NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.