I think it’s been the required amount of time between major announcements of future Stephen King adaptations, which is good, since the bestselling author’s crime thriller Mr. Mercedes is now on its way to the small screen. David E. Kelley, the TV stalwart known for shows such as Ally McBeal and The Practice, will be adapting the hard-boiled novel as a limited series. Will this project do for ice cream trucks what Psycho did for showers?
Kelley, who last created CBS’ The Crazy Ones, will be executive producing and writing the script for Mr. Mercedes. It’ll be produced by Sonar Entertainment, who recently picked up another genre project, WE’s South of Hell. Though it’s unclear how many episodes will get made, TV veteran Jack Bender (Lost, Under the Dome) has signed on to helm them, according to Deadline.
Published in June of last year, Mr. Mercedes centers on the danger-filled cat and mouse hunt between retired detective Bill Hodges and a thrill killer who calls himself Mr. Mercedes. The nickname was earned when he drove a Mercedes into a crowd of people and got away with it, and he has so far remained uncaptured. The case still eats at Hodges, having been one of few left unsolved when he retired, so he jumps at the chance to figure things out when the killer starts taunting him through the mail. To say things take some dark turns – pun intended – is to understate it.
The troublesome event that kicks it all off – the vehicular homicide – is going to be a rough thing to watch on TV, as will a lot of the details that make up Mr. Mercedes’ personal life. (The book is told through flipping points-of-view, so it seems like the TV series would do the same thing.) I can’t imagine this project would land anywhere but cable, given its twisted subject matter, but Kelley’s career has been almost exclusively tied to the basic networks, so I guess anything is possible. That said, I could easily see it being watered down and adapted for CBS audiences, much like Under the Dome was.
No stranger to TV, King has quite a few boob tube projects in the works. (Not to mention last year’s Lifetime Original Big Driver.) CBS is mulling over a pilot order for Seth Grahame-Smith and Greg Berlanti’s adaptation of the short story The Things They Left Behind, and Hulu is bringing audiences the time travel drama 11/22/63 with Bad Robot and Bridget Carpenter (Friday Night Lights).
Though this is being pegged as a limited series, the Mr. Mercedes novel is getting a sequel from King called Finders Keepers in May, with an as-yet-untitled third novel coming later. If success hits, you can bet your umbrella that we’ll be seeing Kelley crafting a couple more limited series in the years to come.