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The Talisman, the epic Stephen King/Peter Straub Collaboration Looks Like Its Finally Getting a Film Treatment

the talisman

According to Entertainment Weekly,  The cinematic sun will finally rise on the quest to rescue Queen Laura DeLoessian by her son, Jack Sawyer as he flips back and forth across The Territories.

Yes, Virginia, there will actually be a big screen version of Stephen King and Peter Straub’s ’s epic fantasy novel The Talisman

the talisman

Mike Barker (The Handmaid’s Tale, Shattered) has already been tapped to direct the film–which will  produced by Amblin Partners and the Kennedy/Marshall Company. The Script will be created by Chris Sparling (Buried).

Steven Spielberg’s permanent control of the rights to the novel (which he picked up while the novel was still being written)— not just an option to adapt, which would have expired after a few years, has led to numerous false starts over the years.

There were a few false starts for both movie and serialized television treatments, but this time the project is set to go.

“It’s something that I’ve wanted to see come to theaters for the last 35 years,” he told EW  “I feel that in the very near future, that’s going to be our richest collaboration.”

Peter Straub, his son Benjamin and Stephen King
photo/Susan Straub

The idea of writing The Talisman first took form when Stephen King moved with his family to London in early 1977. It was there he met Peter and Susan Straub, and their children. The two writers became friends, both being fans of each other’s work. King and his family left London three months later to return to the United States.

Straub and King had talked multiple times before about collaborating to write a book, but nothing ever surfaced until years after King returned stateside, when the Straubs also moved to the United States. According to King, after Straub moved, “the talk got serious,” and they began collaborating.

Released in 1984,The Talisman has long been discussed as a potential film but, like many of King’s books, the length is always an issue. At 921 pages, The Talisman was King’s longest novel until he released an uncut edition of The Stand which went from 823 pages to 1,152.

The Talisman is the second of King’s novels which mention the Territories, the Dark Tower Series being the most well known. The first book of the DT series was published in 1982,  while he and Straub were still working on the Talisman.  They are mentioned again in Eye of the Dragon (whose main villain is shared with The Stand) And there are numerous people who believe the Overlook Hotel from the Shining to be the same Agincourt Hotel in the Territories of The Talisman.

The book’s sequel Black House makes it clear that the Territories are a parallel to All-World. This is made most clear by King’s introduction to The Little Sisters of Eluria where he states the pavilion where Jack Sawyer meets Sophie is the same one in The Little Sisters.

The story also has the possibility of becoming a franchise as the literary friendship between King and Straub continued after The Talisman was published.

So yes….there are sequels. In 1999 they began working on the first sequel, which was published as Black House (2001). This story deals with Jack Sawyer as an adult.

And apparently a third and final book in the Jack Sawyer series is planned. But lets not get ahead of ourselves, Game of Thrones style. The first movie is a go.