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Stephen King Gives His Film Adaptations Mixed Reviews

Stephen King has a long history of dealing with Hollywood. His works have been adapted for film so many times that the list has its own Wikipedia page. So what does the author think of all these movies? Deadline asked him that question in an interview, and he gave decidedly mixed reviews.

King loves some of the adaptations, including The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me. But, of course, he also has some that he likes less. In the interview, which was conducted several years ago but just published this week, King dishes the dirt on his least-favorite film adaptations.

King’s list of bad adaptations include some obvious candidates, like Graveyard Shift and the Children of the Corn sequels. But he also doubles down on previous criticisms of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, generally considered to be a great film. “The character of Jack Torrance has no arc in that movie,” King says. “When we first see Jack Nicholson, he’s in the office of Mr. Ullman, the manager of the hotel, and you know, then, he’s crazy as a shit house rat. All he does is get crazier.” In the novel The Shining, King argues, Torrance goes from sane to insane, making for a more interesting character. Without that arc, Kubrick’s film is “like a big, beautiful Cadillac with no engine inside it.”

But whatever the quality of the film adaptations, King seems at peace with the Hollywood process. Deadline’s headline bills the interview as King’s thoughts on “what Hollywood owes authors.” King’s answer: not much.

King asks for approval over the screenwriter, director, and principal actors when he makes an adaptation deal. Other than that, he says, the adaptation belongs to Hollywood. “If they want to make changes, if they want to be a little bit out on the edge, I’m all for it,” King says. “I like it.” King has put his back-catalog where his mouth is, allowing film students to adapt any of his stories (aside from the ones with existing film contracts) for $1.

Which King novel would you like to see adapted next?

 

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