King on Screen (2022) Movie Script

To fight
the virus, Captain Trip,
there is nothing better
than Weinbaum's Laboratory.
News flash.
An explosion at Dairy College
took place this afternoon.
It's believed to be
due to a gas leak.
Four people are reportedly dead.
Inequity, and in sin
my mother conceived me.
Behold, thou desirest
truth in the inward parts
and in the hidden part thou
shalt make me to know wisdom.
Hey, how can I help you?
Can I have a green tea, please?
If you're going to Cousin Town,
you should take the shortcut.
It's just the
first exit up I-95.
Once you see the black
house hang a left.
You'll be there in no time.
Breaking news just in.
A state prisoner
escaped this morning.
Maybe with the help of others.
We advise all citizens
to remain vigilant.
Welcome to the Running Man!
Tonight, he's in
Hardin, Tomorrow
in New York, Boise,
Albuquerque, Columbus,
skulking outside your home.
Will you report him?
Run, run, run, run, run,
run, run, run, run, run.
Run for...
How many times do
I have to tell you
you're going to fry your
brain using that thing?
Have you seen the Reverend
George Winston lately?
Ever since his wife died,
he hasn't been the same.
I heard he stayed with
the body for five days
before calling a mortician.
I'll have the... a lucky devil.
Did you hear Brenda won
$2,700 last time she played?
And... ooh, give me a...
an American Grain.
Thanks, Richie.
Say hi to Miss Sidley
for me, will you?
Will do, Willy Wilmington.
Hi, Nona.
How can I help you?
It escaped again.
I hope it behaved well.
Picture perfect.
Did you take the shortcut?
You've done well.
Take it to the master.
He's in the back.
Everybody who hasn't read
a Stephen King could've still
seen a Stephen King movie.
The Stand, The Dead
Zone or Cujo or...
Shawshank Redemption,
The Green Mile.
I mean, all the Frank Darabont
ones, all the Rob Reiner ones.
Stand by Me...
I thought it was terrific.
Christine was such a good film,
and Carrie was such a good film.
It completely traumatized me.
Cat's Eye and Silver Bullet
are two of my very favorites.
I adored them.
Creepshow had a massive
impact, and it's unique
and it's stylized.
Dolores Claiborne
was really good.
And 1408.
It's just such a descent into
madness that in that movie
almost anything could
happen at any moment.
Mick Garris did The Stand.
Misery is one of my favorites.
Pet Sematary is a great movie.
I love what he does
with characters.
The Dark Half obviously
was one that was successful.
Shining is pretty
hard to get past.
Let's face it.
A lot of people came to his
work because of the movies.
They probably started
with the movies
and then discovered the books.
It all started with Carrie.
It was the movie that really
brought a lot of attention
to Steve's work.
You couldn't miss Carrie, which
I remember seeing the movie
before I had read the book.
The book was not
well known until De
Palma's movie came out,
and the movie blew me away.
It was so great.
I think that's the first
time I became aware of who
he was back in 1976.
I was just struck by the story.
This character's journey and
like what she is going through
with her mom and the bullying
at school and then the powers
that she gets and how it works
as a metaphor for her entrance
into womanhood.
It really does that perfectly.
Watching the whole
transition of Carrie,
it was like Jekyll and Hyde.
King seemed to really bring
that in there too, that ability
people have to just have this
metamorphosis into something
that just wants to harm you.
From the way Brian De
Palma uses the split screen
in the prom, to the car flipping
over when they're trying,
to run her down on the road,
to the whole ending sequence
with the mom and the house
getting kind of crucified
to the door, the knives
thrown in her too,
that final jump scare moment,
which shows that jump scare
isn't always a dirty word.
Carrie wasn't really scary.
You just seeing her burn
everything down at the end.
You're watching it,
and it's thrilling.
I think it's more of a
thriller than a horror picture.
To me, as in much of
Stephen King's work,
Carrie is not just
a horror film.
It's come to be a horror
film because of the way
that it was first treated,
but the way it's written,
it sort of has a string going
through Stephen King's work.
When folks hear Stephen King,
most of the time, especially
those who aren't super
accustomed or knowledgeable
of his work, they think oh, the
horror guy, which is not true.
Stephen King
writes human beings,
and then he puts
them in incredibly
pressured, difficult, sometimes
phantasmagorical situations.
You know, you're dealing
with characters who are just so
interesting and so fascinating.
Like he really knows how to
explore it through characters
that you give a shit about.
Much of Stephen
King's work seems to be
about how we treat each other.
There was no real horror
genre in movies until Psycho.
Psycho brought that open and
then there were a huge number
of people who followed it.
You know, we went through the
'50s where we had great sci-fi
horror movies that were all
about the strangeness of things
that could happen to us.
The horror that
existed in the story
was really all about, oh,
that's a great monster
or that's a scary situation.
When Steve came
along in the '70s,
it was all about how people
were affected by what happened,
and I think that he's changed
horror and genre movie
making just by that alone.
He made it real
for so many people
because he put brand names in.
All of a sudden you had people
eating food that you ate
or using detergent that you
used in your dishwasher.
It became very American
and very recognizable.
And he also spread the
word to a huge swath
of the American public.
You could say it's
in the middle class.
And doing it in a way that
is without pretense, that
speaks to the common
people, is for
and about the common people.
He loves common people.
He loves folksy people, and
he's got that dialogue down pat.
He doesn't condescend to them.
He doesn't condescend
to middle Americans.
And I think that's important.
In many ways, he is
a man of the people.
Instead of setting
everything in big cities,
he chooses locations
and environments that
are identifiable for everybody.
You could make
name Pennsylvania,
you could make Maine the
countryside of France,
you could make name a
lot of different places
because we all have
places like that.
We all have small
towns and communities
and it allows the people
and the characters
to emerge as opposed to
being overwhelmed by, say,
a New York City environment.
Stephen King's
identity is wrapped
up in almost small town horror.
It's much more
relatable than, you know,
castle in Transylvania.
That's not what he does.
That can be scary too but
that's not what he does
and I think the thing about
these small American towns
is so interesting because
it's not what you expect.
I think he is so deeply an
American writer and writing
about America and the
darkness that lurks
within the heart of America.
He just has that gift to
kind of tap into what we all
can relate to and
connect to and it
always feels sort
of present time,
even if it's a period thing.
It always feels like America.
It's very kind of
Norman Rockwell Americana.
It's an idealized
America, but then it's
ripped apart and sent to hell.
No, please no!
It completely traumatized me.
My parents had refused to
let me watch the miniseries,
and so I would watch
it at a friend's house
when I was way too young really
to discover Stephen King.
Hi, Ben.
Want a balloon.
It was all over the
airwaves in Australia
when it first came out,
and that just terrified me.
Me and my friends, we
had a video camera.
We'd recreate scenes from It.
It was just an obsession.
One of the first movies that
I ever made with my friends
in the back yard was an
adaptation of It actually.
When I was in seventh grade.
Horror movies in
particular were always
kind of what I was drawn to
and terrified of as a viewer.
When Tim Curry first
appears down in the drain...
Aren't you going to say...
As a 11-year-old boy, there
was nothing more terrifying.
Oh, come on, bucko.
Don't you want a balloon?
Tim Curry's
performance as Pennywise
is the ultimate terrifying
performance because he
plays it like a clown.
He doesn't play
it like a monster.
He plays it like
a birthday clown,
and that is so terrifying to me.
I do have to this day a
fear of clowns and Tim Curry
in It is the reason for that.
Basically every time
Pennywise appears in that movie,
it is truly terrifying to a kid.
I was so traumatized by
trying to watch horror films,
but so interested in horror
that I decided to switch over
to books and the very
first book I picked up
when I was like 10 years old was
It and that was a huge mistake.
I found myself in this really
intense conflicted situation
where I didn't want to
keep reading because I
was so frightened, and because I
was having horrible nightmares.
But I cared so much
about the losers club,
I cared so much about these
beautifully rendered characters
that I had to keep reading.
It's basically piss and shit.
So I'm just telling...
By the end of it, I
realized that he had created
an opportunity for me to
learn how to be braver
in very small increments
just to finish a chapter
or eventually to
finish the book.
And that became a
muscle that I would
try to exercise as I got
older and what I think
really horror is all about.
It's exercise for
courage in the same way
that we'd go to the gym to try
to get stronger physically.
Horror movies and
horror stories can
help us practice being brave
for a very short amount of time
in a completely safe space.
That journey started
with It for me,
but carried me very
quickly through all
of the available
works by Stephen King
and he almost immediately
became my hero.
When I hear stories
about other people talking
about their first
encounter with Stephen King
it was usually in childhood.
Certain works of art that you
experience as a child imprint
on you in a way that
I don't think they
can when you're an adult.
And I am of a very particular
generation, that first
generation of kids that were
exposed to Stephen King
and it unquestionably
left an indelible mark.
Early 1980s, My dad had a
giant library in our house
and on the very
bottom shelf he had
a couple of Stephen King books.
He had the paperbacks of
Carrie, he had the 'Salem's Lot
paperback that had pictures
from the Tobe Hooper miniseries
in the middle, so you
could see Barlow like right
before he was going
to get staked.
And so I knew the logo for
Stephen King's name on books
before I could even read.
Stephen King was a big
part of my childhood
and I think a lot of
people's childhoods
in the 1980s and the 1990s.
I think kids flocked
to Stephen King
because he wrote true,
authentic teenage characters
and kid characters.
And if he got you when you
were young, he had for life.
Tweet, tweet.
He rocks in the
treetop all day long.
Hoppin' and a-boppin'
and a-singing his song.
All the little birds
on Jaybird Street
love to hear the Robin
go tweet, tweet, tweet.
Rockin' robin...
One of the other ones that
really had an impact on me
was Stand by Me.
When I first saw it, I didn't
connect to Stephen King.
I thought it was a wonderful
drama about coming of age
and at the end of the film when
Stephen King's name came up,
I remember being shocked that
someone who I associated so
much with horror was
capable of creating
something so beautiful.
Stand by Me I grew up with.
My best friend, and I
would leave our homes
to go try to go on a
journey to find a dead body
and try to find train
tracks, and we'd
go down ditches all
day and be like we're
going to go find the body.
And, you know, we wished
we were in that movie.
So that was really
a touchstone movie
that to me when I think
about Stephen King,
I don't ever think about horror.
I always think about how
I felt when I read it
or the feelings it gave
me and the characters.
And when I think of my
favorite Stephen King movies,
I think of Stand by Me and
the Shawshank Redemption.
I remember seeing Stand by Me
and was just so taken with it.
I just loved it so much.
In fact, it's because of Stand
by Me that I took Shawshank,
the script, to Castle Rock
because of Stand by Me
I felt that Castle Rock
would really understand
the movie I was trying
to make and happily
that's exactly what happened.
I remember, in fact, being on
the set of Nightmare on Elm
Street 3 one night
going hmm, should I
ask Steve for the rights
to Shawshank or the Mist?
I finally went for
Shawshank because it
was so character based,
and Stephen King said yes.
Shawshank is different.
That's about redemption,
that's about humanity, that's
about a man falsely imprisoned
and trying to learn how to deal
with it and not go crazy.
It's what it makes you
feel for the people,
it's the heart
that it has in it.
You immediately
fall in love with Red.
He's just this awesome
character that you
would love just to
listen to and watch
for the entirety of the film.
And of course, the main
character Andy as well.
Inasmuch as the Shining
means to horror fans,
the Shawshank
Redemption means a lot
to fans that are looking for
some kind of hope in the world,
that their lives can improve
no matter how bad they get.
Well, it took five years for me
to actually get around
to writing the script
after Steve gave me the rights.
I know I had a certain ambition
for the creative aspect of what
I wanted that script to
be and I didn't think
I was a good enough writer yet.
That's another thing I
have to thank Stephen King
for, his patience.
Every once in a while, I would
let him know that I still
wanted to do it and finally,
one day, I felt ready,
and I wrote it in eight
weeks sent it to Castle Rock.
Castle Rock came back to me...
Liz Glotzer who was one of their
key development executives,
she's the first one who
read the script there
and walked into her
boss's office and said,
we have to make this movie.
She slapped it down on the desk
and said if we don't make this,
I quit.
So Liz called me and said
Rob Reiner read the script
and really loves it.
There was a moment when
Rob expressed interest
in directing it himself.
In fact, Tom Cruise
had read the script
and asked Rob if Rob wanted to
direct it and with Tom in it.
Then Rob said, let's offer
Frank a writing position.
Let's offer him a lot of money.
I thought about it
for a day, you know,
but then I called them back
and I said, you know what?
I want to stick with it.
I want to direct it myself
because I really feel
this deep, deep in my marrow.
I feel this story very deeply,
and if not this, then what
and if not now, then when?
When am I going to direct
a movie that matters to me?
If you're remembered
for anything,
it's for the kindness you
show or the art you create.
You're not remembered
for your bank account.
Nobody's impressed by that.
Nobody cares.
So yeah, it was a very handsome
offer, but it was money.
It was just money.
And Rob was such a sweetheart
and such a supporter
and a booster and a mentor.
He took no for an answer very
graciously and gracefully.
Frank is one of the
most consummate directors
I've ever worked with.
He loves movies more than
anything in the world.
Him and Quentin
Tarantino probably...
I don't know who
loves movies more.
Frank really... he
really loves it.
He agonizes over
every single detail,
and it shows in his movies.
I mean, Shawshank
Redemption is probably
one of the greatest American
made movies of our generation.
And my memory is that,
that wasn't the success
but has grown into
people thinking it's
one of the best movies ever.
It's set in prison.
It doesn't have Sylvester
Stallone or Van Damme in it.
It's not an action movie.
Clearly, it's a drama
with Morgan and Tim.
It looks like a
depressing movie.
There's no way you can cut the
trailer together and convince
the audience that it's
going to be something
they love for years to come.
So we had trouble getting
people to show up,
and that was very, very
disappointing, I have to admit.
Shortly thereafter...
I thank Academy.
They nominated us for
seven Academy Awards,
and we were one of the five
Best Picture nominees that year.
The Shawshank Redemption,
Nikki Marvin, producer.
And the Oscar goes to...
We didn't win a single award.
There was Forrest Gump.
Forrest Gump.
It's Forrest Gump's year.
They swept everything.
It's a great movie,
so I'm not surprised.
It was that and Pulp Fiction
and Four Weddings and a Funeral
and Quiz Show and Shawshank.
And everybody what is Shawshank?
I remember even
being at the awards
and when Shawshank
was announced, people
who were there would, go?
What movie?
Did we miss this?
So it so brought attention
to the film in a way
that we could not have purchased
by marketing or advertising.
That'll be one of those
movies that people
hold on to it seems and I'm...
boy, I'm so grateful for that.
I think Stephen King likes those
contained situations
where people are
stuck in one specific arena.
It's almost like a theater play.
From the situations comes a
lot of challenging moments
between characters
because they're
forced to challenge themselves
and challenge others.
That's the theme
obviously in The Mist
and The Shining and
1408, and the psychology
in this contained areas is
interesting and a lot of things
are happening, a lot
of things are coming
out because we get stuck.
Come on.
That's a situation that King
likes to put his character in
and as we come out
what we have learned
collectively from
months of lockdown
is a challenging situation.
The device he uses being
inside with nowhere to go.
He wants you to focus
on what's happening,
not on what's happening
outside in the world.
And in that environment,
there's no escape.
You really have to
face your demons.
I'm here because
island folk know
how to pull together for the
common good when they need to.
And that's what
these people did.
Trapped on Little Tall in
the storm of the century.
In the case of Rose Red, I
think it's the same thing.
They were trapped within
this controlled environment
where the house was
controlling the characters.
He's so descriptive
of his settings.
Very funny, but I want
to leave all right?
I think that's what makes
it scary and relatable,
because you could imagine
it happened to you.
What is this?
What is happening to me?
On Nightmares and
Dreamscapes, the autopsy room
too was really fun.
What is going on here?
Snake, why can't you see that?
Please, you can't do this.
You can't cut me up.
Help me.
Don't you realize
I can still feel!
One really clear example
of that dynamic is Misery.
We can all imagine it
could happen to us.
We are all James Caan's
character in that movie
and Kathy Bates is
so freaking scary.
Last night, it came so clear.
I realized you just
need more time.
Eventually you'll come to
accept the idea of being here.
Paul, do you know
about the early days
at the Kimberley Diamond mines?
Do you know what they
did to the native workers
who stole diamonds?
Don't worry, they
didn't kill them.
In the book, Annie Wilkes
cuts his foot off with an ax.
So we sit down in
the first meeting
and Rob goes, we can't
cut his foot off.
There's a myriad
of issues with it.
So they had pitched this
idea of the hobbling.
And they broke for
lunch, and they said,
OK, you guys get everything
rigged up for lunch,
and then when we come
back, we'll film it.
They all came back
from lunch, and they're
like, what are you doing?
Like you're supposed
to be ready.
I'm like well, those
are the fake legs.
So they didn't know because we
had disguised his leg so well.
Annie, for god's...
Shh, darling...
The first screening...
God's sake...
You could feel the
oxygen being sucked out
of the theater when she
raises the sledgehammer
because everybody at
the same time goes...
all at once.
Almost done.
You don't even
see it in close up.
You see it in wide.
You see her lift
the sledgehammer
and it's the real
sledgehammer and it's heavy,
and then when she swings and
she hits it a second time,
you never see it.
And you don't need to see it.
It's so much about
the sound effect.
Cut to the close
up, and she says...
God, I love you.
It's when Stephen gets the
combination of the humanity
along with the situation
was terrifying,
and they can say it's horror.
But I think what Stephen
does and also what I do
and what so many of us
do really is suspense.
Those are people.
I mean, yes, the situation
is one of rising dread.
But you're looking at people.
The secret is in the
casting and I think
that's the same for any role.
John Ford used to say
it's 70% of the job.
You make the right choice and
you're more than halfway there.
And the Oscar goes to
Kathy Bates in Misery.
Kathy Bates is
brilliant actress.
She'd won the Academy
Award for Misery.
I'd like to thank William
Goldman for bringing
the wonderful,
crazy Annie Wilkes
to the screen and
Stephen King for thinking
of her in the first place.
And Misery was a real
Stephen King crazy thing
and Kathy Bates was
great in the role.
Dolores was a very
different role...
strong, tough, but nuanced.
If you want to know somebody's
life, you look at the hands.
The challenge to me and
the thing that was probably
most interesting to
me is that Dolores
Claiborne is a woman's movie.
The three main
characters are women.
The women rule this movie.
Why I go through
20 years of hell?
Why mother?
I have a friend, Larry
Kasdan, who's a great director.
His son and went to Columbia.
During the first semester
back at Christmas,
I happened to run into them
and Larry's son said, you know,
I took this film class and
the teacher was a woman
and was trying to communicate
the fact that there are
no women stories out
there and that you
need to have filmmakers
who understand women.
And she was going
to show Dolores
Claiborne to say
Taylor is often times
used for men or women, right?
And that Taylor Hackford, this
woman who had directed Dolores
Claiborne, really understands
the women in this,
the four women that are here.
It's a brilliant woman's story.
And this... Larry Kasdan's
son sat down and said,
well, I just want to say, I know
Taylor Hackford, he's a man.
No, he's not.
No man could make this story.
Could I have a better
compliment than that?
It was great, but it all
started with Stephen King.
He had the inspiration.
Stephen King created
the characters.
You better sit back
down, Joe, if you
don't want this in your head.
Dolores is heroic.
How does a mother
deal with incest?
A lot of them know it and
just go along with it.
Dolores was not
about to ignore it.
Dolores understood the
horror of what her husband
was putting this child through.
It had to be repaid and she did.
I thought that was Stephen King.
All Stephen King.
The only thing
you're going to get
is a long stretch in Shawshank
prison for child molesting.
God damn bitch.
I think that
Stephen King probably
had a Delores in his life.
The way she was described,
the way all the women
were described was so real.
My mother had a
very difficult life,
and she still provided for
me by working her ass off.
When I wrote him, I
just said, listen, I see
my mother in this character.
Stephen King can write women.
He really can.
Stephen King has
a knack for writing
terrific female
characters and I think
he would credit a lot of
that to his wife Tabitha
and her influence on
him throughout his life.
And a lot of his books,
especially his most personal
with some of the most
fascinating heroines
are dedicated to
Tabitha and her sisters
and other women in his life
who are very powerful figures.
He was raised by a powerful
and strong single woman.
His relationship with his mother
shapes his writing quite a bit,
and he goes into
very moving detail
about that and on writing
and a lot of his interviews.
I think he's a man who
grew up in the presence
and under the influence
of remarkable women
and who married a remarkable
a woman who, in a lot of ways,
is responsible for the
biggest points of inflection
in his career and in
his personal life.
If you listen to him
talk about Tabitha
and you realize that she
pulled the manuscript of Carrie
out of the trash
can when he threw it
in there in complete despair,
when you imagine her being
the first set of eyes
on one of his stories
and giving him that
first critical feedback,
when you imagine some
of the stories he tells
about their marriage
not only kind
of in his fictionalized
versions of it,
but in on writing when he
talks about how she came to him
and made him confront
his addiction,
it's very easy to
see where he gets
a lot of that fortitude
and kind of mettle
that his heroines have.
I think he has that at home.
He came from a
broken home as I did.
His parents split
up early and he
was raised by a single
mother, very blue
collar, real hardscrabble life.
And his work is often
about the fractured family.
Your family is the place where
you're supposed to feel safe.
The outside world is the
other, your family is you.
And if that starts to crumble,
if that starts to present
danger and horrifying
circumstances to you,
you're not safe anywhere.
If you can't be safe
within the family unit,
how can you possibly
expect to survive?
And I think that theme running
through a lot of Stephen King's
work is actually what
adds to the terror
that we feel as we either
witness or read these stories.
Whether it's the
family and Cujo and what
they're going through before
the dog actually shows up
or what's happening in The
Shining between Jack and Wendy.
The first time I
encountered Stephen
King was through The Shining,
the book The Shining.
I read that and I
was just blown away.
I just thought this was
the most amazing thing.
I had to stop reading it.
I think I was in a remote lodge
in the mountains somewhere.
It was very similar to
the Colorado wilderness
that the hotel The Shining's in.
It really creeped me out.
The book club by accident
sent me The Shining.
I was going to send it back
because I didn't have the money
to buy it, but I
opened the book and it
random it was the
paragraph where
the dead woman sits
up in the bathtub,
and I thought, oh, I have to...
I have to read this book.
When I read The Shining, I think
that's the first
time I was enchanted
by the voice of the writer.
When you go inside
Jack Torrance's head,
you connect with him in
this very visceral way.
Stephen had a time
clock in there, which
was the boiler down
in the basement, which
was building and
building and building,
and of course, at
the end, blew up.
The boiler that
eventually blows up,
that is a metaphor
for what's going
on in Jack Torrance's head.
I was hired to direct
Dolan's Cadillac.
The writer and I, we were going
to have a call with Mr. King
and I was just vibrating,
I was so excited.
And I said, what do you
think I should say first?
I think I'm going to tell him
how much I love The Shining.
And he said, I wouldn't
do that, because he thinks
it's a total piece of shit.
It was very well
known that Stephen King
did not like the Kubrick film.
And there are a number of
reasons but one of the foremost
is that this was a really
personal book to him.
It was a book he wrote
while he was still drinking
about the guilt of a father
who, while he's drunk,
has broken his beautiful
little boy's arm.
It's about guilt and
seeking redemption.
He goes to this location that
is completely devoid of people
in the hopes that,
that will help him
stay away from the bottle
and be a responsible
husband and father.
And Kubrick turned it into
something very different.
Now I was at the Chinese Theater
in Hollywood, first day,
first show, to see The Shining
and pretty much everybody
in that huge theater had
read the book, so we're
all going all right,
Kubrick's doing this.
This is going to be great.
And they were booing
and hissing and
everybody was like pissed off.
It wasn't the book.
The creative personalities
of Stanley Kubrick and Stephen
King are very, very different.
King is a very warm and
human and emotional writer
and Kubrick is a very cool and
intellectualized filmmaker.
Scatman Crothers told
me he would do 85 takes
of one shot over and
over and over, and not
necessarily give any direction.
So his calculating
manner is kind
of in contrast to the
emotional warmth of what
King's stories are about.
In his entire
body of work, which
is substantial and
tremendously influential,
Kubrick was never an
emotional filmmaker.
Oh, come on, what do
you mean roll video?
Two seconds...
We're [muted] killing
ourselves out here
and you've got to be ready.
I am too, I'm standing
right by the door.
- Shall we play mood music?
- No, I can't hear it.
But when you came out like
this, you said you just...
because they say,
wait a minute, and then
you say on the radio, go...
When you do it, you've got
to look desperate, Shelley.
You're just wasting
everybody's time now.
I can't even get
this door open...
On the record, I got
such a bollocking
because they said turn over and
they said video rolling and all
that, and I got all ready
and jumped up and down,
and then they said never mind.
Cut it.
He had one emotional scene.
Out of all the movies.
And that was the very end
of Paths of Glory, which
will move you to
tears, but never
again did Stanley Kubrick try
to get your emotions involved.
It was always... it's
cinematically stunning,
but it was a very
intellectual chess game...
him telling a story.
I think we should discuss Danny?
It's a really good
Stanley Kubrick movie,
but it's a terrible
Stephen King movie.
The problem is Stanley
Kubrick didn't believe
in the supernatural in
any way, shape, or form
and the movie was
dictated on that belief
so it works on his
own logic perfectly.
It's just not
Stephen King's logic.
Kubrick would call him up
in the middle of the night
and ask things like,
do you believe in God?
When I talked to Stephen King, I
asked him a lot of
questions about The Shining
and the shooting of The Shining
and he told me this anecdote.
He said that he was home
sleeping, 2:00 in the morning
or something in
Maine where he lives
and his telephone was ringing,
and it was Stanley Kubrick.
And he said, hi,
Stephen, it's Stanley.
Are you OK?
And Stephen King said, yeah,
no it's 2:00 in the morning,
so I'm sleeping.
Oh yeah, sorry, I'm here in
London, we're shooting away
and I just have one
question for you
and Stephen King said,
yeah, what is it?
And Kubrick said,
does God exist?
Stephen King said, well, Stanley
that's the very big question,
you know, that really depends
on where you come from,
why you... it's a big discussion.
And Kubrick said, yeah,
yeah, no, that's...
That's all.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
And he put down the phone.
When we meet Jack
Torrance Nicholson character
in the film, he seems to be
as mad from the first second
we meet him as he is in the
last second we meet him.
His madness lacks an arc.
He seems to be quite unhinged
from the very beginning.
David Cronenberg said to me
once, right after The Shining
came out, that the reason
The Shining doesn't work
is because they cast the ending.
Jack Nicholson's crazy
from the beginning.
That works in Kubrick's world,
but not in King's world.
Will then take the time
to get back to where it was.
You understand?
I know a famous film critic says
that Nicholson's
performance in The Shining
is both his best and
his worst performance,
which is an interesting
thing of putting it.
What you lose, I think, is,
again, the thing that I think
is Stephen's great strength
is the recognizable humanity
in all of these characters.
Why don't you start right now
and get the fuck out of here?
And who could imagine those two
actually ever being married?
You lose the horror
to me of someone
very familiar to you
becoming so other.
That's... to me, that goes
to my heart right now.
I imagine if my wife
and I had... if suddenly
they seemed so different,
how painful and difficult
that would be.
That wasn't in the movie at all.
Yet as time has gone
on as, we've all seen,
it has become what...
it has become this iconic
horror movie that based on that.
I guess King never
liked what he did,
but it really was
Kubrick's version of King.
He had to make it his
own like most artists do.
It's always tough to
make those adaptation
so everybody loves it.
Hollywood is a rough
and tumble place.
They call it show business
not show friendly.
And there's betrayal, and
treachery, and disappointment,
and all kinds of things.
There's a great joke.
I think it was Ernest Hemingway
who said when you make
a deal with Hollywood,
what you must do
is drive to the Colorado
River, stop on the bridge
halfway across between
Arizona and California
and throw your novel across.
When they throw
the money across,
then you put it in your car,
and you drive back East.
You know, the movie
went on to become iconic.
It's a huge success and
everybody knows here's Johnny,
but Stephen King
wanted the chance to do
something closer to his book.
And he himself wrote
the screenplay,
and he asked me
if I would do it.
Actually the first
question was if Brian
De Palma turns this down,
would you want to direct it?
Well, I don't know if it
ever went to Brian De Palma
but he didn't make it.
- Daddy!
He did.
Heya, Danny boy.
King asked me to because
we had two very successful
experiences together.
I was very naive.
I thought yeah, I want to
do the Stephen King version.
I was disappointed in
the Kubrick version
because I had loved the book
so much before I saw it.
So I thought, sure, why not?
Well, once people started
hearing that there was
going to be a shining
for television,
oh my god, for television?
How can that be any good?
And being directed by
the guy who directed
Critters 2, how could
that be any good?
Stanley Kubrick
versus Mick Garris...
All the guest
rooms, strong and...
But the script was wonderful.
And I thought,
we're going to make
something on our own, something
special, which we did.
It was an opportunity
to just tell
the story of the book, which
was very, very personal to King.
We ignored the Kubrick film.
There are times when
you can't help it
like the here's Johnny scene.
You still have somebody
breaking through the door in the
bathroom and attacking Wendy.
That's the place where it most
resembles the Kubrick film.
There was another important
differentiation too.
King was drinking
when he wrote the book
and King was dry when
he wrote the screenplay
for the miniseries.
My name is Hartwell, and I'm
an alcoholic with a fondness
for tranquilizers.
Hi, my name is Jack...
So he was able to give
it a new perspective
from outside of being someone
who was abusing substances.
You won't be sorry.
I was talking to Steve
on the phone one day.
I had called him just
to say, how are you?
How's it going?
And he said, oh, I think I might
be about to make the biggest
mistake of my life
because I have this story
that I'm thinking
of writing, and then
publishing it in six volumes.
And he told me the basic
idea, this mentally challenged
black inmate who is
in for apparently
murdering two little
white girls who
turns out to be this
miraculous instrument of God.
Your name is John Coffey?
Yes, sir boss.
It's his relationship
with the guards.
He didn't think I'd be
interested because it
was another prison thing.
And I said, you know,
you're probably right,
but that sounds
intriguing enough to me.
So the next thing
I know is I get
the very first volume of the
six sent to me by his agent.
I read it, and I
did something I've
never done before or since which
is I have to make this movie.
I don't even know what
the rest of it is.
I don't even know
how it ends, but this
is Stephen King at his best.
I just could tell.
I called his office in Maine
and the person I spoke to said,
well he's not here.
He's in Colorado on Mick Garris'
set of The Shining miniseries.
I did know Mick.
He and I were good
friends by then.
We had, sort of, a small circle
of friends in Los Angeles.
All of us involved in the movie
business in some way or other.
Mick's very good friends
with Greg Nicotero and Greg
is very good friends
with this guy,
and that guy and Robert
Rodriguez and Quentin
and so many of those guys.
This was back when I
was single and working
like a crazy machine.
And I would...
sometimes on a weekend,
I would have everybody come
over and just invite... and just
had this huge table and
put like 14 or 16 people
around the table and make this
giant pot of spaghetti and meat
sauce, and we'd
open bottles of wine
and we'd be there til 2:00
or 3:00 in the morning just
around the table just
talking and laughing.
And the rare occasion that he's
actually on the West Coast,
we did have Stephen
King and George Romero
and Mick would be
there quite a lot.
So I flew to Colorado,
and I rented a car
and I drove up the mountain
just like Jack Torrance
in the opening of The Shining
and I arrived at The Stanley,
this incredible hotel.
That was the very
hotel that gave
Stephen King the idea for The
Shining in the first place.
I walked into their ballroom,
and they were in the middle
of filming the big
New Year's Eve scene,
and there were all these extras
dressed as ghosts and ghouls
and Stephen King was up on
the stage as the bandleader
and shaking his butt,
and, you know, it was so
much fun to walk onto that set.
And of course, Mick is
a dear friend, so it was
like a very welcoming arrival.
I really like having
friends show up and do cameos,
and I didn't know that Frank
had an ulterior motive,
but it's the only
time in his life
Frank had ever
shaved off his beard.
So he... I don't...
I didn't ask him to
but he wanted to do it.
And so we had all these
wonderful people there,
especially people
within the genre
where the fans will see
that's Frank Darabont
and you feel like you're
part of a special club
because most people
don't know who Frank
Darabont is but we do, right?
And Steve saw me and he
said, what are you doing here?
And I said, I've come
all this way to tell you
I really want to
do The Green Mile.
He said, great, it's yours.
I said, fantastic, can
I read the rest of it?
He said, no, you can't.
You have to wait just
like everybody else.
And then that's when
he also admitted
that he actually
hadn't even written
the last volume or two of it.
I thought, what a bold,
crazy, high wire act that is.
He's an extraordinary writer.
He's sort of like
the Charles Dickens
of 20th and 21st century.
Literally writing these massive
novels almost in episodes.
What a giant.
The Green Mile was his
attempt to do Dickens, which
is to write an episodic
novel where he could publish
a new chapter every
week or whatever it was,
which is how Dickens came to
write so many of his novels.
That was how they
wrote in the 1800s,
and they were trying
to make a living
and they were paid a penny
a word or whatever it was.
But that was The Green Mile too.
The movie was set during
the Depression at a time,
and certainly in a
place where black people
were not respected at all.
Boy, you under
arrest for murder.
That's what I thought was
so interesting and powerful
about the theme of that
story when I read it.
What does the Bible speak of?
It speaks of the least of these,
the least will be the greatest.
You have a man who is not
even really considered a man.
What if that person is
actually a miracle of God?
What if that is the best of us?
And I find that so
moving and so powerful.
And just the basic
theme of don't
judge a book by its cover.
You don't judge a person
by the color of their skin.
You don't judge a person
by their status in life
or in society.
It's like what Martin
Luther King said,
which is judge somebody by the
content of their character,
not the color of their
skin, not by surface things.
Judge them by their actions.
And I'm a big believer
in that sort of thing.
I want it to be
over and done with.
I do.
I'm tired, boss.
I'm tired of being
on the road, lonely
as a sparrow in the rain.
I'm tired of never having
me a buddy to be with,
or to tell me where we's
going to, coming from or why.
Mostly I'm tired of people
being ugly to each other.
My favorite memory
of The Green Mile
is one of my favorite memories
from directing period.
There's the scene in The Green
Mile where Paul, Tom Hanks,
comes into the cell
with John Coffey
and they've now realized that
he is A, innocent of the crime,
and B, that he is
this miracle of God.
It's the scene that I got
Michael the nomination, right?
Shooting that scene,
this is an example
of what a generous
actor Tom Hanks is
and the wisdom of a
truly generous actor
because since Michael was
the least experienced actor
on the set when we began, I
would usually start shooting
a scene with him first
because he would generally
get there within a few takes.
The same with every actor.
They usually have their sweet
spot, whether it takes 1, to 3,
takes 5 to 6 or whatever.
As a director, you've got
to just make a note of that
and make sure you
don't wear them out
by the time they're on camera.
And Tom was always very
gracious about that
and movie stars aren't always.
They usually want
to start on them,
but he was very cool about
me starting on Michael.
I remember we started the same
way all on Michael and Tom
was off camera, but he wasn't
just giving him the lines.
He was acting his
heart out for Michael.
I was starting to get nervous,
thinking, I hope Tom still has
some gas left in the tank
by the time I turn around
and get the cameras on him
because he's winning an Academy
Award here off camera, but he
knew to get the performance
that Michael needed to give, he
had to give Michael everything
as his scene partner.
And that wisdom and that
generosity, the risk
of not having enough
left for yourself,
but giving it all to the
other actor, so that,
that actor can shine, that's
the kind of generosity
that Tom has.
It's certainly
nothing we discussed.
It's certainly... he just did it.
He just knew he had
to do it for Michael.
He had to be fully there 100%.
Tom was always on the set,
and he being the movie star,
we would try to be conscious
of the fact that it's Friday
night, you have your
weekend coming up,
I can let you go,
but he's... well, no,
we're still doing the scene.
Like yeah, but I've got
all your stuff already.
I've shot you.
We can have someone
stand in for you.
Oh, no, no, no, no, he has to
be there for the other actors.
So Tom would be there
sometimes till 2 o'clock
in the morning on a Friday.
We're now eating
into his weekend.
He didn't care.
He had to be there for the
other actors, even off camera.
Do you know how many
times I've been off camera
in all the movies I'm in?
Tom was one of my choices
for Andy in Shawshank.
He couldn't consider it because
he was doing Forrest Gump.
Things turned out great
regardless because Tim Robbins
is brilliant, and so is Morgan
Freeman so any other thoughts
we had don't matter.
We got the right guys for that.
But because of Shawshank
and because of the way
the movie turned out, Tom
approached me and said,
wow, I love the movies you make.
If you ever want me to
read anything, let me know.
So the very next thing
was The Green Mile
so I sent it straight to
Tom and he read it and said,
great, let's do it.
And it was the easiest yes
I ever got from an actor
and he was actually I would
say probably the easiest person
to work with in my career.
Michael, Clarke Duncan.
- Thanks for your time.
- All right.
I came home one day,
I clicked the messages,
and there's Bruce Willis on my
answering machine saying, hey,
I hear you're doing this movie.
I've read the book.
I really love the book.
You should read Michael
Clarke Duncan, a guy
I'm working with on Armageddon.
He's your guy.
I'm like, OK, Bruce,
I'll give him a try.
I'll have him in to read.
His first audition for
me, you thought, no way.
No way.
And then he became the only way.
Bruce was right,
as it turns out,
and I've never heard
from Bruce Willis since.
This is the only time...
this is one of those
weird surreal moments
you have sometimes in our
business where you go,
there's Bruce Willis on
my answering machine.
That's kind of great.
That's kind of cool.
It's pretty funny,
but no, he was right.
Michael was the guy.
We had the little girl
bodies that we had made.
The dummies were sculpted to
make John Coffey look larger.
He was very tall
actor to begin with,
but we sort of scaled
them down a little bit.
And for some reason or another,
the first time they filmed it,
the dummies weren't
positioned in the way
that they were sculpted.
We were editing the movie and
Frank had said there's just one
thing that I want to
take a second stab at
and we rebuilt the dummies
of the two little girls,
and we reshot it on the
backlot at Warner studios.
And it made a world
of difference.
People don't realize
what it takes
to make a movie and
every single element,
you have to make a decision.
Do you like that belt?
What about the
color of that shirt?
How does the sun look?
Do we want this
in the background?
And you have to have
an answer for every one
of those questions
and you get hit
as the director from the
second you step on set
to the second you go home.
I'm in heaven
and my heart beats so
that I can hardly speak.
And I seem to find the happiness
I SEEK When we're out together
dancing cheek to cheek.
There was something
about the musicals
that Hollywood was making
during the Depression
when the circumstances of
real life were so dire,
but the musicals
were this glossy sort
of unattainable
like heaven vision.
And that particular number
has always struck me
in such a delightful way because
it's Fred Astaire and Ginger
Rogers, they're the most
iconic musical performers
and dancers of that era.
And they are singing
about heaven.
It just felt like
the right anchor
for the movie and
Steve's story, it
was killer's kiss,
the Richard Widmark
playing some crazy killer.
That made our main
character, Paul, think
of the events of long ago
because that character
reminded him of Percy.
It didn't feel like quite
the right thing to me.
I wanted the contrast, I
think, between the reality
of that time versus
the dream reality
that Hollywood was telling us.
And I wanted it to
remind him of John Coffey
and not of Percy when he
was watching that clip
and being transported
by something
he'd never seen before.
And they're singing
about being in heaven.
I thought, OK that seems
really right to me.
I couldn't quite picture the
scene with John Coffey watching
Richard Widmark pushing
some lady down the stairs
in a wheelchair and giggling
because he's murdered her
and like, I didn't
see that having
a great effect on John Coffey.
That's one of those things
that when you're translating
from one language
to another language,
from written
storytelling to cinema
storytelling that
evolve along the way,
that change along the way.
It's like what do I want
the audience to feel when
they're watching this scene?
Frank and I have been
friends for decades
and when it came time
to shoot The Green Mile,
we knew that the
big moment would
be Del's, death and the
electrocution in the chair.
And we worked with Darrell
Pritchett who was the special
effects coordinator, and we
knew that first and foremost,
whatever we built,
whatever this puppet
that was going to
be built needed
to move 100% realistically.
So we had Michael
Jeter, the actor,
come to our studio in the chair,
and we filmed his movements.
We filmed how he would move
and how he would react,
and we sort of reverse
engineered the puppet
to match what the
actor had done,
which traditionally, you
don't usually do it that way.
The puppet... you just
kind of... the puppet
does what it's going to do
and what it's built to do.
But in that particular instance,
it was really, really important
that it felt 100% real.
Michael came to the studio.
We recorded all
of his movements,
and then at that point,
we did a body cast of him.
We built a fiberglass body the
puppeteer rods and controls
and cables went out
the bottom of the chair
and through the back wall.
So when we were
shooting the scene,
all the puppeteers
were behind the wall.
So we couldn't see
anything, because we
weren't in the room with Tom
Hanks and all the other actors.
We were on the other
side of the wall
so we had a little
monitor there.
Steve was there when
we shot that sequence.
We have Stephen King visiting
the set of The Green Mile.
How are you doing?
How are you?
Is this the mile the
way you pictured it?
Sure it is.
Well, we're about...
we're about to roll.
- OK.
- Watch the magic.
Frank, you maniac.
We're definitely going to...
There is no better man.
That's great.
Let me show you... let me
show you all Sparky, man.
And we fried the bastard.
Yeah, I don't blame you.
I would.
Check this out, man.
Is this ever cranky.
Look at this.
Check it out.
And then we strap the ankles.
Kind of be sort of
like a Houdini thing
if you could pull it off.
And that's exactly it.
This is a good look for you.
It's a good look for me.
Frank, could I get out now?
Stephen King
showed up on the set.
It was his birthday.
We brought out a cake, we all
sang happy birthday to him.
We do have a secret evil
plan for Stephen King.
Since last Monday
was his birthday,
we're going to spring
a birthday cake on him.
Oh, god.
You like me.
You really, really like me.
We pulled it off.
I think we really surprised him.
Eduard Delacroix
you are history.
Everybody sang happy
birthday in the theater.
God bless you.
Thank you.
Frank, when's your birthday?
January 28th.
Be prepared.
People so excited
to have him there.
- Give my best to everybody.
- All right.
Take care.
Bye, bye.
Bye, everybody.
Bye, Steve.
Gosh, it could have
all been taken away.
In something eerily
familiar from his book,
Stephen King was
hit by a truck as he
walked along an empty road.
He's in Maine.
He's walking his dog
and then typical Stephen
King, tragedy strikes.
He's in this horrible accident.
We were all afraid
after that accident
that, that was going to be it.
It's miraculous that
he came out of it alive,
and now fully ambulatory.
That's just amazing to me.
So thanking God for that.
That whole accident
is actually very much
connected to The Green Mile.
When we had our big premiere
screening in Westwood,
it was the first time Stephen
King had made an appearance
in public since his accident
and in a lot of pain
still, you know, but
he was very invested
emotionally in the movie, and
he really wanted to be there.
He really wanted to see it.
So that was his first
time out after that.
Appliance that holds the pins,
that hold the bones together.
On a home shopping network now,
operators are
standing by, use Tudi.
Humor and drugs, the
two things together.
And bitching.
A lot of bitching off camera.
Yeah, big time.
King is a believer.
Steve had often
talked about life
goes on after the story ends.
I am not a religious person by
any stretch of the imagination,
but religion and belief
are not the same thing.
Religion is often used to
control not to give comfort.
Praise God!
Praise the Lord!
King does
touch and use politics,
social issues, cultural
issues, and religion
in a lot of his work.
It's woven through.
It's one of his elements, I
guess we could call it, motifs.
Children of the Corn
was no different.
When I saw the script, I
realized that this script is
based on a exploration of dogma,
how people follow other people,
how cults work, why belief
systems are what they are
and how people
manipulate others.
It's really ingrained
in American culture,
even if we're not
religious, we've grown up
with religion from childhood.
Most kids go to church
in their early years,
and maybe they grow
out of it, or maybe
they never go,
but it's something
that's always around you.
In the late 1980s, my
parents who were Methodist
at that time, became Southern
Baptists, and all of a sudden,
a lot of the things that I
had loved were off limits.
For that intense dddd of time, I
sort of lived in Fahrenheit 451
in my house.
I had to hide Stephen King books
under my bed in the box springs
under my bed, and
they did at one time
find kind of my stash of
Stephen King books under the bed
and they burned them
in our fireplace.
I wrote Stephen King a letter
that my books had been burned.
I just put Stephen
King, Bangor, Maine
and I sent him the first
three dark tower books.
I had read that if you
sent Stephen King a book,
he'd sign it for you.
I didn't expect anything.
I wasn't even sure it would get
there, but a couple of weeks
later, I came home from the
private Christian school
that I went to every day.
My dad pulled me aside,
and he was like, Josh,
there's a box here
from Stephen King.
I didn't tell your mom.
King had written me this
beautiful message, kind of,
in the front cover
of each of the books.
And it was a continuing letter,
so you'd start reading one,
and then the next
one would pick up.
I couldn't imagine
that my mom was burning
The Stand in our
fireplace because it's
the most Christian
book he's ever written.
I was raised by
people who believed
the Antichrist was
coming at some point,
that the rapture
was going to happen.
Stephen King gave
me a counter myth
that allowed me to look
at some of this stuff
in a different way.
I'm seeing a lot of army traffic
on state 17 westbound in
the direction of Arnett.
You heard anything about that?
Just you let the army
mind their business
and you mind yours unit 16.
Politics is something that
King doesn't shy away from
and neither do I. The whole
military industrial complex.
The military thinks
they're right,
and they can do whatever
the hell they want to do.
Well, that's not
why they're there.
They're there for protecting
us, not controlling us.
The idea that civilization
and society is a very fragile
construct, and it can fall
apart at the drop of a hat
is very appealing to
me, because if you
are a student of
history, you can
see that, that has
happened many, many times
in many, many ways.
Entire nations can go insane and
everything that we depend upon,
especially more and more
it's so very technological
that if you pull the
rug out from under us,
we revert to a very
primitive state.
You don't seem to understand
the situation here, ma'am.
Martial law has been declared.
We don't have to put up with you
and your pinko friends anymore.
Mike, are you getting all this?
Get him!
Get the driver!
You know, The
Stand shines a light
on what America is as a nation.
When all the societal norms
break down, who are they?
Yeats was right.
Things fall apart.
And here we are at this
moment seeing societal norms
break down and it's not pretty.
It's terrifying.
Bring out your dead.
The monster is coming.
He's coming.
Bring out your dead.
Bring out your dead.
Just the idea of what would you
do if like everyone
was dead and there was
just this handful of people?
I hadn't seen many
stories like that.
Now it seems like maybe
every story is about that,
but back then, seeing The
Stand mini series, that
was the first time I thought,
oh my god, imagine if I survived
something like that, and you
could go into a supermarket
and no one was
there, and there's
a town and everyone's dead.
Like, it was just so mind
blowing to me as a little kid.
I really
didn't want to do The Stand
again linear because
mix series meant
so much to me when I was a kid.
I don't know what reason
there is to make that again.
We had to do some
things too just
to make it more representative
of all of America
because if everybody
in the world died,
you don't just want
to see a poster
with a bunch of white people
and one old black Lady.
Because in the book, it
is... everybody's white
except for mother Abigail.
It was written 40 years
ago before I was even born.
So we really did try
to do what we could
to make it be if
the world ended,
this is a cross-section
of all the people.
And then just trying to
structure it in a way
that would be surprising
to people who were really
familiar with the
material, who had
seen the series many
times when they were young
or read the book.
We wanted to make sure that
even if you'd read the book,
you never would quite
know where it was
going to go next and all that.
The irony of that
was not lost upon us.
While we were shooting, we
were at the very last day shut
down by the COVID pandemic.
And of course, The
Stand begins with
a global pandemic that kills 90%
of the population of the world.
So it was truly unnerving
while we were shooting, seeing
how the disease was spreading.
It was strange.
It was surreal, and
it's still surreal now.
But I mean, yes, we
absolutely were making
a show about what is
happening in the world,
and that was weird.
That man has had a
crystal ball for a very
long time on his desk.
Just like show me the future.
That's the legend
of Stephen King.
He's able to see
things in the future
that the average person can't.
And then also the
fact that Randall Flagg,
the villain of The Stand,
has uncomfortable echoes
of Donald Trump.
We drown the rats, and
then we burn the witch.
In the way that he
appeals to the worst
of the American character and
is a kind of populist leader
in a world in crisis.
I really felt, when we were
making that mini series,
we were holding up a
mirror to the world.
And when you consider that
Stephen King wrote that book
sometime in the late '70s,
you, kind of, have to think
he's a bit of a prophet.
I think it's that
aspect of his work
that I like the most
is this deep, sort of,
resonant understanding
of what the moment are
that we're living in.
And in some ways the cell
had some reflections of that.
There were things in the book
that I felt were prophetic.
The signal isn't something
that might happen tomorrow.
It happened already.
This isn't like it's coming.
This is about what's here.
Even in the last
image of the film,
there's the initials
of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump was not on
the landscape at that time.
He's a prophet
of the apocalypse.
So you saw all this shit coming?
Craig Stillson in The
Dead Zone are just chilling.
What he saw coming was
unfortunately, precisely
accurate, and here we are.
You're not the
voice of the people
I am the voice of the people.
The people speak
through me, not you.
Came to me while I slept, Sonny.
My destiny.
In the middle of the
night, it came to me.
I must get up now, right
now and fulfill my destiny.
The Dead Zone remains my
favorite of all his King's
movies because Christopher
Walken's character, the love
story, all that wove
through that thing
was just incredible to me.
It really, really captured it.
When HBO started on television
here, they had five movies,
and they would play them
over and over again.
So I watched the dead
zone probably 100 times.
And I just think it's
one of the great love
stories, one of the
great performances
by Christopher Walken.
It's such a terrific film.
like to use this as
a shortcut to school.
And I came to really
feel like Stephen
King, in a way
like Bob Dylan, is
a sort of dreamer of America.
Like he contains
the entirety of it
and sort of dreams
in the language
of the chaos of America.
People, when you apply fear,
turn against one another.
Paranoia, suspicion,
aggression suddenly happens.
The veneer of
polite civilization
gets ripped away very quickly.
It is his fault. Yes, it is...
We're dealing with a lot
of craziness these days,
and it's actually
only been getting
worse since I made The Mist.
People trying to
control an environment
and trying to
control a population
and here it's done in a
very claustrophobic sense.
Everybody is trapped together
in this one store that's
being invaded by monsters.
So politics has to go out
the window at one point,
and it's got the
grimmest ending ever,
and it's an ending that
Darabont came up with.
Frank would always send me
an early draft of the script.
Let me know what you think.
Let me know what you think.
He had done it with Shawshank.
He'd done it with Green Mile.
He'd done it with Majestic.
All of his movies, he
always send me one.
And he sent me The Mist
and I read the script,
and it got to the
end, and I threw
the script across the
room, and I called Frank.
I'm like, dude, really?
Stephen's a genius when it comes
to putting you in the
skin of those characters.
And then when I got to the end
of the story, I went, what?
There's no ending?
It was a very ambiguous
kind of non-ending
and I thought, well,
OK, that's fine.
He's taken me on this
incredible journey as a writer,
as a storyteller, fair enough.
If he doesn't have a
conclusive ending, that's OK.
But I thought if
it's a movie, I don't
think that's an ending that's
going to be very satisfactory.
I don't think it's going
to really land well.
Movies, I think, need an ending.
When I wrote the script,
I sent it to Stephen King
and my note was, Steve,
I gave it an ending,
and it's definitely a left turn
and I'm leaving this up to you.
The irony is when we went
to the premiere in New York,
Steve basically said, I wish
I would have thought of that
ending for the book because if
I would have thought of that,
that's how I would
have ended the story.
It's a unique situation
where the writer looks
at the body of work
of what that movie was
and where Frank took
it and was like dang,
I wish I would have
thought of that.
That's pretty great.
And I feel like The Mist
lives in the same world
as John Carpenter's The
Thing where the movie came
out right after Eand people had a very
unique reaction to The Thing.
And then the movie has come
to be very well respected.
I think The Mist
is the same way.
Upon multiple viewings,
and as that movie ages,
it's like wine.
I think people really respect
it and understand it and get
a much better sense of it.
Just like being home in LA.
And tug of war!
When I read The
Mist, Steve's story,
I thought oh, this
is really cool.
This is very weird
pressure cooker happening.
You take all that and
put it into the microcosm
of a supermarket
as Steve King did
and you can hold that
mirror up to the audience
and say boy, look at this.
This is kind of ugly.
And I love when
stories can do that.
I love when a piece of
cinema holds that mirror up,
whether it's something truly
glorious like Schindler's List,
which I think is just about
the greatest movie ever made
or the Night of the Living
Dead on the opposite end
of the budget spectrum,
that also had a very
sociological component to it.
I don' think they
even intended it
but it showed up in
the movie, and that's
one of the reasons the movie
is so powerful, and so beloved.
I mean... well, we could talk
about movies that I love
for days, but Night of
the Living Dead, that
was in the '60s and the 1960s
when we were having the Civil
Rights struggle, which we
seem to be reliving now,
which is really crazy.
You would think that we would
have grown up more by now,
but apparently we don't
learn from the past.
I believe in 1968 was
when that movie came out.
The Civil Rights
struggle was going on,
and the lead of the
movie was a black man
who was not shy about
standing up for himself.
It is tough for the kid
that her old man is so stupid.
Now, you get the hell
down in the cellar.
You can be the boss down there.
I'm boss up here.
To see a black guy slap the
white guy around on screen back
then was sociologically
earth shattering.
It was amazing.
It was like Sidney Poitier
in The Heat of the Night.
If you really understand what
was going on in the United
States at the time that Night
of the Living Dead came out,
you'll realize what a bold
movie that really was.
George Romero came from a
documentary style background.
They made Night of the Living
Dead for literally no money.
At the time, a lot
of the directors
really had this unique
sort of Renegade spirit.
Between George and Tobe
Hooper and Wes Craven,
a lot of the filmmakers
at the time, horror
was very, very taboo.
George always
would claim that he
never really was trying to make
a statement, but he always did.
He was able to shine the
spotlight on specific elements
of what was relevant
during the day
without ever even realizing,
I think, that he had done it.
He cast Dawand Jones,
an African-American man,
and George would
always say, oh, he just
was the best actor which
is probably the case but
whether or not George meant
it, I always felt that maybe
in the back of his mind that
there was something there
because then from all of
his other subsequent movies
from that point on, there was
a strong African-American lead
and a female.
George liked pushing
the boundaries
and I think that's where
he had a kindred spirit
with Steve King.
He and Stephen met.
Steve being a fan of George's,
wanted to meet George.
I think it may have been
during Dawn of the Dead
that Steve and George
struck up a friendship,
and that carried
through into Knight
Riders and Knight Riders,
Stephen King has a cameo.
That's all.
They're like like
the wrestlers on TV.
You got the blood bag.
And I believe that it
was during Knight Riders
that they started
talking about EC Comics
and like wanting to
do a movie together
and it ended up being Creepshow.
Hey, buddy.
What the fuck happened?
Looks like a hit and run.
It's like a Black guy, huh?
The number one most
important thing about Creepshow
is every story had
a different tone.
One of them was funny.
The Jordy Verrill story
that Steve starred in
was very silly and
very outrageous.
And then you had the Crate
which was a straight horror.
And then you had things
like Father's Day.
I got my cake.
Every single
story was different.
So that was one
of the main things
that I took away from
Creepshow when I was younger
and what I wanted to instill
in the current iteration
of Creepshow which is you're
going on a different journey
every single time and it might
be fun, it might be scary,
it might be suspenseful,
it might be tense,
it might be ridiculous.
But no matter what,
every experience that
you go on in the
show, you're getting
a different vibe from it.
If there was one
of those stories that
really had a major
impact, it was probably
They're Creeping Up on You.
To live with cockroaches
for four or five weeks,
was a life changing experience.
We would find them on us
all the time no matter
how much we tried
to wrap ourselves up
and not take them home with us.
The roach wranglers...
that's what we called them,
roach wranglers... promised
us that they could actually
control the behavior
of the roaches
with certain Skinnerian
or Pavlovian tricks.
It's like no.
A roach does not take
direction, right?
So we had the big dump.
We had to dump all
the roaches and they
would scatter everywhere.
And if you've seen the movie,
you know that it's when
E.G. Marshall finally gets his.
So they said, well, how are
we going to prevent them
from getting out of here because
the set lights and no ceiling?
Oh, no, don't worry about it.
What we'll do is we'll put
Vaseline all around the top
of the set so that
when they scatter,
because they hate light,
they'll go up the walls,
they'll hit the Vaseline,
and they'll fall back down.
We'll take your word for it.
So the day comes, Vaseline
all around the top of the set,
dump the roaches into the
set and off they go right up
the wall over the Vaseline and
out into the rest of the world.
The Vaseline didn't work.
I don't know how
I came up with it.
There are times when I
wish I hadn't like now.
I'm sure some people
in the surrounding area
woke up with certain roaches
that they'd never seen before.
These were big fat
Trinidadian roaches,
and I think there are a few new
species in Western Pennsylvania
It was an accident.
A legitimate accident.
So why should I fuck
up my life right?
How are you doing lady?
Thanks for the ride.
One of the things that
both Steve and George had
is the ability to mix the
humor with the horror.
Now of course Creepshow is
the perfect example of that.
That was kind of the beginning
of their working relationship,
and it was a very unique one
because King trusted George.
He trusted him
implicitly, and that
was something that back in the
day was very hard to come by.
So George was set to direct
Pet Sematary at one point,
and then of course,
George did the Dark Half
an he's collaborated with
Stephen King probably
as many times as Rob
Reiner or Frank Darabont
they had really very
successful collaborations.
But George always
was ahead of his time
very much like
Steve's writing was.
I think everybody
loves to be scared.
I think it's a way of
working things out.
I mean, after all, horror is
as ancient as human beings.
In all storytelling
and all cultures,
there is horror story.
Fairy tales were a way for
people to teach their children
about the real
world, but I think
a good horror movie allows us
to put some order to the chaos.
I'm interested in
fear because all my life
I've been a fearful person.
I've wasted so much
of my life being
afraid of imaginary things.
Afraid of not going to get that
job, afraid I'll lose the job I
have, afraid that I'm not
going to meet the girl
I love or she's going to
leave me once I do find her.
All those fears, none of them
has ever come true in my life,
but I had them anyway.
So I felt that's a
really interesting topic.
And that's what
this story in Cujo
gives me an opportunity to tell.
The dog becomes the metaphor for
the insanity that fear people.
You know, obviously, a
lot of it's about mortality.
A lot of it's about death.
A lot of it's about questions
of existence and meaning.
So undercover of
almost silliness,
you can tangle with some pretty
deep existential questions,
I think.
It's one of the
reasons, I think,
horror is super interesting.
I mean, on the one hand,
he's just incredibly creative
and has great concepts.
He can take something
like a killer car
and make it a very scary story.
But I think the thing that's
scarier about something
like Christine is the
journey that Arnie
Cunningham is going through.
You care more about that
car than you care about me.
Where really the car is just
a metaphor for the change.
He's going through being
bullied in high school
and, kind of, being
an outcast and then
trying to find his voice.
And I would say that's the
thing, for me, that makes
his work, so memorable, that
these stories don't leave
my brain is because
the people in them
and the journeys they
go through is always,
for me, more visceral
and stronger.
For me, that is always
more powerful than even
like supernatural aspects of it.
Decided to wake up and see
what home looks like, huh?
In our opinion, Pet Sematary
is one of the scariest things
he's ever done.
Ellie be careful.
He himself wrote
the book and then
was so disturbed by what he
did, he put it in a drawer
for like a year.
He knew he tapped into
something because he
had kids at that time.
You got it.
Gage is flying it.
You got it?
Can I fly it now?
In a minute, honey...
And I have a son now.
And so to me the thought of
anything happening to him
is the scariest thing I
could possibly imagine.
Don't let him go
on the road, Louise!
Get him, Louis!
Get the baby!
Get the baby!
More heart rendering
than parents who want
to bring their dead child back.
I should never have
shown you that place.
Your child is not the only
thing that will come back.
One of the great
themes of horror,
be careful what you wish for.
Did you weigh yourself?
Billy, you were 297 last week.
It'll take some time
for these diets to work.
For Billy Hallock,
life is sweet.
I thought Thinner was a
terrific character study.
I thought it was elevated
from being pure horror.
I thought there was something
very human and very universal
about a fat man who wanted
desperately to lose weight
and finally had
his wish answered.
It's a universal theme.
If everybody isn't
trying to lose weight,
they know somebody who is.
Nobody is ever too
thin or too rich.
I cast Stephen in it, and
he was very good actually.
And he was sitting on
set waiting to be called
and he was reading
the Bangor newspaper.
And I looked over his shoulder
to see what he was reading
and Stephen King was
reading the obituaries
and which I thought
was very telling.
I think you'd better come
along with me, Reverend.
King is always
after deeper things.
He's willing to look
into the darkness
completely and
allow what emerges
and he's not interested
in shutting anything out.
It's an ass kicker, isn't it?
Is that for me?
I found some of
those original scripts
that he wrote for movies
back then that people, sort
of, crapped on at the time.
I think Silver Bullet's
actually really beautiful
and is a really great love story
about a brother and a sister
and a family and one of the
best uncles you could ever meet.
And a kid who's in a really
interesting situation where he
gave him almost a superpower.
He gave an identity and a voice
to people who had problems
that most fiction
would never touch,
for people with
disabilities, for people
with mental health issues.
I just think all that stuff,
he's been so brilliant at.
And some people look
back now, and it
might be dated but he broke new
ground really in a lot of ways.
He did it over the whole
course of his career
from African-Americans
back then who would never
be featured in a book in
that way where he had balls
and he did it.
He has empathy for everyone.
What I interpreted the film to
be about is about woundedness.
We all as human beings
carry some sort of wound.
What we are called upon to do
is to accept life, to embrace it
and to go forward.
And Corey just was a
kid who just seemed
like nothing could bother.
So I thought the werewolf was
a beautiful metaphor for what
human beings can
become if they can't
embrace their full nature.
But it's not my fault!
The reverend, he had
lustful impulses, for example.
Instead of being
able to accept them,
he suppressed them so
far below the surface
that they came out in
these monstrous ways.
Every single time Stephen
King created characters
that I could relate to.
He taps into his subconscious
and gets a truth that are not
necessarily apparent
to everybody
else, about where we are
as a country and a culture.
Stephen King has such
an incalculable reach
on popular culture in
ways that I don't think
can ever be measured.
He's the guy who married
American pop culture to horror.
Great stories translate
from page to celluloid
and there's so many references.
Everywhere you look there's
Stephen King references.
Have gun will
travel reads the card of a man.
I've heard people refer
to big dogs as Cujo.
Down, Cujo.
So it's fun to have worked
on a film, the title of which
has entered the language
as big dangerous dog.
He's been such a
mirror for pop culture,
but now he is his
own pop culture.
Stephen King helped
define so many of what
now are cliches and tropes
of the cinematic world.
You see it parodied even.
That's when you, kind of, know
you've done something special
whether in literature
or in filmmaking or both
in this case with Stephen
King and adaptations.
Oh, come on.
Films like Shawshank
Redemption, that classic
narration by Morgan Freeman.
It is used as a trope
now, as a cliche.
It did feel like a prison, and
that meant only one thing made
sense conceptually,
we had to break out
and someone with the
gravitas of Morgan Freeman
had to narrate it.
The same thing can be
said for The Shining.
Like that film in itself
is now like almost
in its entirety as a trope.
I had a couple of people that
actually worked on The Shining
working 1408 and both films
being about writers in hotel
rooms and so on, which was to
me kind of cool and inspiring
being at the same studio
where the great Kubrick shot
this great movie.
In the end of the film,
the hotel room is on fire.
The fire guys is coming
to break down the door
and to get Ensline
out of the room.
And the prop guy came up to me
just before we shot the scene
and said I worked on
The Shining as well.
And, this is actually the ax
that we used in The Shining.
The famous ax that
Jack Nicholson
have when he breaks
down the door.
And I was thinking maybe you
want to use it for this scene,
and I was like
fantastic, absolutely.
So I gave the ax to the fire
guy who breaks down the door
and helps out Enslin
from the hotel room.
And nobody knows that obviously.
Now you know it
but it's a secret,
but that's Nicholson's ax, and
to me, that was a cool detail.
You can see The Shining in just
about every successful horror
film made in the last 25 years.
And sometimes in the
tiniest little ways.
But I think we filmmakers
want to express our love
for that material and
so it feeds itself,
and then that becomes this
kind of self-perpetuating cycle
of references, homage
and celebration.
When I read Doctor
Sleep as a fan of Kubrick
and as a fan of King, I was
fascinated by the tug of war
that was happening internally.
I'm reading this great story,
but all of the visual language
in my brain is Kubrick's.
It just is.
Danny boy!
No, doc.
You can put things
from the overlook
away in boxes, but not memories.
Never those.
They are the real ghosts.
I had a fateful meeting with
John Berg at Warner Brothers
and he was a Stephen
King fan and I
had just finished Gerald's Game
and no one had seen it yet.
And he asked how it went and he
was like, that's a crazy one.
Hard one to crack.
And I said, yep, it was
really it was really difficult
but I think we
might have done it.
And he said, we have one
that's really hard to crack.
Have you ever read Doctor Sleep?
And I was like, yes.
And he said out of curiosity,
what would you recommend?
And the pitch I gave him was...
I was like I think what
you do is you stay as
close to the book as you
can for the first two thirds
but you have to
assume that story
takes place in the established
Kubrick cinematic universe.
It's too well known.
It's too iconic.
If you try to come off
of it, it'll backfire.
Mike Flanagan really had to
walk the tightrope because he
knew that King was not a
fan of the Kubrick film,
but he also knew
that most audiences
know The Shining
from the Kubrick film
and not from the book.
What if you could take Stephen
King's Shining and Stanley
Kubrick's Shining and what if
you could just kind of Parent
Trap them back together?
Is it possible?
I decided, going
into it, that if King
didn't like anything
that was up to,
that I wouldn't do the movie.
His initial answer to the idea
of using the Kubrick canon
was no.
He didn't want to do
it, but wanted to have
a creative conversation.
The pitch that I made
was all about one scene.
I said, if you can just
imagine Dan goes back
into the condemned overlook
and it's all dormant,
it's all asleep, and
he has to wake it up
and he makes it to the
gold room, and at the bar
is a glass waiting for
him, because Dan is eight
years sober at that point.
There's a man in the familiar
Kubrick red tuxedo pouring
the whiskey for Dan and imagine
that, that man is his father,
and the two of them have a
conversation about alcohol.
That was what turned him around.
This is the medicine.
So tell me, pup, are you
going to take your medicine?
I'm not.
Adaptation is
complicated, because very
bold choices have to be made.
There's no way you can
translate 600 pages of a book
into a screenplay
and keep everything.
Rewrite Stephen King,
it really doesn't make
sense when you think about it.
Why do a Stephen
King movie and not
to have Stephen King's story?
Why buy a book if you're
not going to follow it?
It's always about what you
don't do, what you can't do.
You have to have a
strategy about what
you're not going to do.
So I come to it
as a reader, and I
want to recreate the
experience that the reader
has, the emotional experience,
not the plot detail.
Stephen had a very cool
phrase when people would
say, well, what do
you think of what
they've done to your books?
And he'd say, well, what
do you mean what have
they done to you to my books?
Well, look at the bookshelf.
My books are all there.
Nobody's done
anything to my books.
So I think he has a really
great attitude about how
his books are adapted.
A novel is not a film.
It isn't.
Sometimes it's working with
the dialogue in the head
or narration or all the things.
You've got to make a film that
an audience can look at, find
themselves in and
at the same time,
be true to the original story.
That calls for the
actual term adaptation.
And I think that you have to
be bold in the sense of staying
true to material, but also
being bold about adapting it
so that it fits on the
screen not on the page.
Movies are what you
see and what you hear,
but as Hitchcock said, they're
called moving pictures,
not talking pictures.
Movies are still
a visual medium.
Writing a screenplay is
a very interesting process.
It's half mechanics
and half poetry.
When you're adapting
a great author,
if the story is excellent,
what you're trying to do
is capture the essence of it,
if you're changing certain facts
and you moving the
plugs around and sawing
the wood a little
bit differently,
it still feels like
they experienced
the same emotions and the
same story by the end of it.
Everybody has their own
way to approach material,
but it doesn't matter whether
it's Stephen King or not,
but the thing about Stephen
King it usually works
really well for the screen.
The reason any filmmaker
wants to adapt Stephen King
is the material is so good.
He's all about character,
all about story
and where he keeps coming up
with these, I have no idea.
The man is so prolific.
I can't believe how much he's
written, how much he's produced
and how good it is.
I don't know where
that comes from.
Nobody does otherwise they'd
bottle it up and sell it.
He believes that these
stories already exist.
They're already
out there, and he
says it all the time because
people think he's joking.
He's not joking.
This is what he believes that
the stories are just out there
and he's just like an
archaeologist just digging
around until he finds
something, and then
he just starts excavating
it, extracting it and pulling
from it and revealing it.
Michelangelo the
great sculptor he
said something extremely similar
that every block of marble
has the masterpiece in it.
He takes a big idea, and
he turns it and he turns it,
and he turns it, and that's why
the book keeps going and going
and going because he keeps
taking this one idea,
and he doesn't stick with
what it meant on chapter 1.
Stephen also has a
great look which helps.
To look like who you are.
I think that he looks
like who he is and a lot.
So the second you see
him, he could only be him.
It's a very admirable
quality, I think,
to look like who you are.
I wouldn't go out
there if I were you.
I think I'll be all right.
Told you.
They never listen.
But of course, It Chapter
Two, Doctor Sleep, The Stand.
The Outsider on HBO
starts in January.
And then you're working on
something with J.J. Abrams too.
No, wait, I'm not done.
I would guess that he's
as shocked as everybody
else about this resurgence.
Mr. Mercedes starts
tonight on DirecTV.
I'm not really
sure what happened,
but there we were
just smack bang
in the middle of the... as I
call it, the King nascent.
Like it was an explosion and
then the rest is history.
Suddenly every studio
that had a Stephen
King property sitting
on their shelf,
they wanted to get it made.
We sort of like tentatively
raised our hand.
A movie that we would
have done for free.
It was just something
indelible in our childhood.
Some of the series have
been inspired by his work.
Stranger Things, which kind
of sounds like Needful Things.
Certainly you have to give
Stephen a big nod of thanks
for, sort of,
inventing the weird
'80s supernatural adventure
story that often stars kids.
The way digital technology has
improved over the last decade
has made it easier
and easier for people
to realize, in a fairly
realistic way, some
of the more spectacular
things that Stephen
King has been writing about.
I love that he'll go
out and do anything.
As I said, you could
give him an orange
and he could write
a novel about it.
He wrote about the
Kennedy assassination
and time travel and basically
anything he wants to.
He's a writer that
knows no bounds.
Cable and streaming have
really helped that along.
TV matured to the point
where TV can be novelistic.
Sitting down in front
of the television
and being able to watch 10
or 12 hours of a great story.
It's wonderful.
It didn't exist
not that long ago.
I think the other reason that
he's timeless is because he's
also completely contemporary.
He's not a novelist who takes
10 years to write a book.
He's writing, he's writing,
he's writing, he's writing,
and speed, I think,
gives him this...
he's alive in the moment.
Different generation
of directors
and different approaches but
still the essence of Stephen
King's work is in there.
He shows us a mirror of
where we are as people.
And even though the symptoms
of how we behave change
as the ages change
and the years go by,
he keeps his basic
humanity in his stories.
His stuff doesn't really age.
Like he was writing
about the darkness that
lurks in the heart of
America, and that darkness
sadly has not dissipated.
His stories are about
the human condition.
So it doesn't matter
whether you're my age,
those themes resonate
and every generation
can find those themes.
And within that
we find deep truths
that we didn't see
before that are
things we need to know about
what's happening right now.
I think that's his genius.
Stephen King is just one of
the rare careers I don't think
anyone's going to
ever come along
again that has this kind of
body of work and still continue.
I think he's like a clown car.
This is your 61st book.
Do you have a target number
of books you're going for?
Is there a certain point
at which you will stop?
Is retirement in any
way an option for you?
God will tell me when to retire.
He'll say get out of the game,
hang up your jock, you're done.