There have been more than 60 feature films and more than 25 TV series based on the works of Stephen King since the film version of “Carrie” came out in 1976. But there’s about to be a lot more. This year and next are jam-packed with King adaptations. This summer alone, two TV series and two movies are planned, with more set for the fall and for early 2018.
According to Karen Carberry Warhola, director of the Maine Film Office, at least a few of the upcoming adaptations were at least partially shot in various locations around the state.
“We often get contacted by production companies scouting for locations, but sometimes, people already know what they’re looking for and don’t say anything to anyone,” said Carberry Warhola. “I think a lot of people just want to fly under the radar, especially when it’s a big production like a Stephen King movie. They don’t want to broadcast the fact that they’re here.”
Several King adaptations in the past have been filmed in Maine, including “Pet Sematary” (1989); “Graveyard Shift” (1990); “The Langoliers” (1995); “Thinner” (1996); and “Storm of the Century” (1999).
So what King works can you expect to see soon?
What: Premiering June 22 on Spike TV, this 10-episode TV series is an adaptation of King’s 1980 novella of the same name. While a feature film adaptation directed by Frank Darabont, who also directed “The Shawshank Redemption,” came out in 2007, the TV adaptation has been in the works for years. “The Mist” stars Morgan Spector, Frances Conroy and Alyssa Sutherland.
The premise: A mysterious mist surrounds the town of Bridgton, Maine — yes, the real Bridgton, where the Kings own a home. Hidden in the mist are various horrifying, interdimensional creatures, who begin to attack the townsfolk.
Filmed in Maine? Despite the actual story being set in a real Maine town, the TV series has changed the name of the town from Bridgton to Bridgeville and, unsurprisingly, did not film in Maine. It was filmed in Nova Scotia, as was “Dolores Claiborne,” another Maine-set King book adapted into a 1995 film.
“The Dark Tower”
What: Set to hit theaters on Aug. 4, this adaptation of King’s magnum opus has been in the works for about a decade, first as a movie, then a TV series, then a movie-TV series hybrid, and now, finally, as a real, honest-to-goodness movie. It’s directed by Nikolaj Arcel, and it stars Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black and Idris Elba as Roland Deschain.
The premise: The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. Actually, according to King and Arcel, this adaptation is written as a “sequel” to the events of the original series — for constant readers, that means Roland is on his last attempt to reach the Tower, but that he’ll still likely encounter many of the same characters from the book.
Filmed in Maine? This adaptation isn’t, as far as we know, set in Maine in any capacity. The parts of the series that occur in Maine don’t show up in the books until the second-to-last installment, “Song of Susannah.” Depending on how the filmmakers treat King’s epic with this film, however, we may see the series’ Maine scenes in potential future Dark Tower movies.
What: A TV adaptation of King’s popular detective novel, “Mr. Mercedes,” produced by Waterville native and “Boston Legal” and “Ally McBeal” producer David E. Kelley, which will premiere on the Audience network on Wednesday, Aug. 9.
The premise: A Mercedes plows into a crowd of people at a job fair, killing eight. Recently retired detective Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) receives a letter from the killer (Harry Treadaway), calling himself Mr. Mercedes. The game is afoot.
Filmed in Maine? The book is not set in Maine; IMDB says the series was shot in South Carolina.
What: One of the most hotly anticipated movies of 2017, the first trailer for this adaptation of King’s blockbuster 1986 book broke a YouTube record, with 197 million views within 24 hours of it being uploaded. The first part of this two-part movie is due out on Sept, 8, is directed by Andres Muschietti, and stars a crew of talented young actors as the “Losers Club,” with Bill Skarsgard taking on the role of the horrific supernatural being Pennywise.
The premise: A group of unpopular kids in Derry, Maine — aka bizarro, bad news Bangor — find themselves taking on not just local bullies, but one of the biggest baddies ever: Pennywise, an evil being from another dimension, who takes the form of whatever it is you find most terrifying before he tries to eat you. Expect more gore and genuinely scary moments than were in the beloved-but-dated 1990 TV miniseries starring Tim Curry.
Filmed in Maine? Partially, yes. Viewers of the trailer likely spotted scenes that looked suspiciously like the Queen City, and that’s because they were, in fact, Bangor — albeit a Bangor digitally altered to look a little different. It’s Derry, after all. It’s Bangor’s evil twin. Most of the movie was shot in and around Toronto, but filmmakers came to Bangor in 2015 to scout locations for exterior shots, and director Muschietti was, according to his Instagram account, in Bangor in January 2016 for more research.
What: If you’ve read “Gerald’s Game,” you know that it’s got to be one of the toughest King stories to adapt, with the majority of the action taking place in protagonist Jessie Burlingame’s head. And yet, horror director Mike Flanagan (“Oculus” and “Hush”) has done just that, with a feature film set to be released directly to Netflix sometime in fall 2017.
The premise: Jessie (Carla Gugino) and Gerald Burlingame (Bruce Greenwood) spend a weekend in a remote cabin in the Maine woods in an attempt to spice up their marriage. Things go horribly, horribly awry. It’s definitely for grownups.
Filmed in Maine? The Maine location isn’t totally crucial to the book, and consequently, it isn’t for the movie, either. It was filmed in Mobile, Alabama.
What: An adaptation of the novella “1922,” from King’s 2010 collection of short stories, “Full Dark, No Stars,” directed by Zak Hilditch, set to be released directly to Netflix in late 2017. Starring Stephen King regular Thomas Jane (“Dreamcatcher” and “The Mist”) as the main character, Wilfred James.
The premise: Set in the 1920s, a Nebraska rancher plots to murder his wife for financial gain, and convinces his son to help. It doesn’t go well.
Filmed in Maine? The story is set in Nebraska, so clearly not!
What: Though details are still shrouded in secrecy, a teaser trailer for a new Hulu TV series called “Castle Rock” came out in Feb. 2017. We know it’s produced by J.J. Abrams, he of the “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” reboots, and we know that filming is supposed to commence later this summer, with an expected 2018 release date. Hulu streamed another partially Maine-set King TV series: 2016’s “11/22/63,” which was shot in Texas and Canada.
The premise: Speculation abounds, but it’s all based on one statement from producers back in February: it’s a “psychological-horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse” in a “few square miles of Maine woodland,” i.e. Castle Rock, the fictional Maine town that’s the setting for everything from “Needful Things” to “The Body.” They call the series “a first-of-its-kind reimagining that explores the themes and worlds uniting the entire King canon, while brushing up against some of his most iconic and beloved stories.”
Filmed in Maine? Filming hasn’t started yet, but according to Karen Carberry Warhola of the Maine Film Office, her office was contacted by series producers for assistance with location scouting, so it seems likely at least part of the series will be shot here.
“IT: Part Two”
What: The second part of the movie adaptation of “IT.” We don’t know when it’s coming out, though mid-to-late 2018 is a pretty safe bet. We don’t know if Andres Muschietti is still directing. We don’t know who is cast. We aren’t even 100 percent certain it’s actually happening — though at this point, it seems unlikely the second part won’t get made.
The premise: Those kids from the Losers Club? They’re 30 years older, and they’re back to finally vanquish their ultimate foe, Pennywise, for good.
Filmed in Maine? It hasn’t started filming yet, but here’s hoping!