The business of making movies and TV shows based on the works of famed Bangorian Stephen King is nearly as big a business as the books King cranks out on a yearly basis. In 2022, two movies based on King books are set to be released, including the reboot of “Firestarter,” due out in May, and a new film version of “Salem’s Lot,” which is set for a September release — yet another King film set in Maine but filmed in Massachusetts.
King has had varying levels of involvement in the films and series adapted from his stories, from writing screenplays for the original “Pet Sematary” and the 2021 TV series “Lisey’s Story,” to roles in films like “It: Chapter Two” and “Creepshow.”
But as a voracious consumer of pop culture in all forms, one thing King has is an opinion on just about everything — which he expresses daily on his popular Twitter feed.
King answered a handful of questions from the Bangor Daily News about the many movies and TV shows adapted from his works — the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Bangor Daily News: Have you seen the new version of “Firestarter” and, if so, which version do you like best?
Stephen King: The “Firestarter” remake is good. The girl playing Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) is terrific, and Zac Efron makes a better Andy, her father, than David Keith. It’s tighter and more focused than the 1984 version. Also, an actual Native American (Michael Greyeyes) plays John Rainbird instead of George C. Scott.
BDN: Which remakes of films based on your work do you prefer over the originals, if any?
King: I especially enjoyed the movie reboot of “It,” because it was free of the Standards & Practices which then ruled network TV (there was no streaming). The TV miniseries was good, but the movie gave the kids back their foul mouths and blended the supernatural horror more perfectly with the job of being a kid.
I feel fortunate to have lived long enough to see some of these things remade, and I’m hopeful that “Salem’s Lot,” like “It,” will be a better movie than a TV mini… although Tobe Hooper’s version was pretty fine. Lots of men and women remember being scared by the child vampire who floats to Mark Petrie’s window. Maybe not as many as were scared by Tim Curry’s Pennywise, but plenty.
BDN: Which films based on your work do you think can’t be improved on?
King: I wouldn’t care to see Shawshank or “The Green Mile” remade, and I’m doubtful about the proposed “Christine” remake.
BDN: Which of your works that haven’t been adapted to film (or TV) do you think would be successful if made?
King: I’m more interested in some of the new stuff, like “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” “The Boogeyman,” and the proposed streaming version of “The Talisman” [ presently in the works at Netflix, with Steven Spielberg as an executive producer].