After the embarrassment of riches that was 2019 for Hollywood adaptations of Stephen King books, 2020 is shaping up to be just as big of a year for the famed Maine writer. While there’s no obvious blockbuster set to debut next year — 2017’s “IT” and 2019’s “IT: Chapter 2” made more than a billion dollars worldwide combined at the box office — there are several highly anticipated adaptations coming out nonetheless, ranging from a recent bestseller to one of King’s earliest classics.
This limited HBO series has had a dizzyingly fast path from greenlight to premiere, with the show being announced just a few weeks after King’s supernatural murder mystery novel of the same name came out in May 2018. Set to begin Jan. 12 on HBO, it stars Ben Mendelsohn as Detective Ralph Anderson, Jason Bateman as the wrongfully accused Terry Maitland and Cynthia Erivo as beloved King character Holly Gibney. “The Outsider” was adapted by acclaimed film and TV screenwriter Richard Price (“The Night Of,” “The Wire,” “The Color of Money”).
After many years in development, a new version of King’s post-apocalyptic 1978 masterpiece “The Stand” is set to debut sometime in 2020 on streaming platform CBS All Access. Filming of the 10-episode miniseries began in September, starring James Marsden, Amber Heard, Whoopi Goldberg and Greg Kinnear in the roles of Stu Redman, Nadine Cross, Mother Abigail and Glen Bateman, while Alexander Skarsgard — brother to Bill Skarsgard, who played Pennywise in the “IT” movies — will play iconic King baddie Randall Flagg. Josh Boone (“The Fault in Our Stars”) will direct. A release date has not been announced yet, but as filming is well underway, it seems a 2020 premiere is likely.
Stephen King called this 2006 book his favorite of his novels, so it makes sense that King himself would pen all eight episodes of the upcoming limited series, which is set to debut this year on streaming platform Apple TV+. Starring Julianne Moore in the title role, “Lisey’s Story” tells the story of Lisey Landon, the widow of a bestselling novelist, Scott (Clive Owen), and how she slowly processes her grief and comes to understand her dead spouse. Filming on the series will begin soon, with a 2020 release date expected.
The Dark Tower
It’s hard to believe that another adaptation of King’s magnum opus Dark Tower series would be in the works just two years after the movie version was a critical failure, but here we are. Amazon has ordered up a pilot of the series, which will be based on the events in “Wizard and Glass,” the fourth book in the series, which details gunslinger Roland Deschain’s backstory. Roland will be played by British actor Sam Stroke, while Marten Broadcloak, a.k.a The Man in Black, will be played by Jasper Paakkonen. Glenn Mazzara, a former executive producer of “The Walking Dead” is set to be showrunner. As a pilot has already been shot, if Amazon picks up the show, it will likely debut in 2020.
Of the five adaptations here, “The Talisman” appears to be the least likely to actually come out in 2020, even though Steven Spielberg himself said earlier this year that the project is a go. A long-awaited movie version of King’s sprawling 1984 fantasy novel is in the works with director Mike Barker, and with Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment producing. It hasn’t been announced who will play lead character Jack Sawyer, a 12-year-old New Hampshire boy who sets out to find a magical crystal that will save his dying mother.