Are we in the midst of a Stephen King resurgence? Cinematically, it certainly seems that way. While the writer’s work has had a hit or miss relationship with the box office over the years, several big name titles are in the process of finding their way to screens in the next 12 months. From the Idris Elba-starring The Dark Tower to Bill Skarsgard (Hemlock Grove) starring as Pennywise the Clown in It, 2017 is already set to be a big year for King at the movies. And that’s just the big screen.
On the small screen, Netflix is full steam ahead on their adaptation of Gerald’s Game from director Mike Flanagan (Ouija: Origin of Evil). The director and streaming service already have a great relationship, thanks to the success of this year’s Hush. While Netflix keeps their ratings a secret, the success of his home invasion thriller led to an agreement to develop King’s novel, previously thought to be unfilmable. Flanagan, however, has long dreamt of directing an adaptation, and recently stated that he’d cracked the code. With the Game officially afoot, casting has now been solidified.
Deadline is reporting that Flanagan has tapped Carla Gugino (Roadies) and Bruce Greenwood (The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) to star in King’s classic tale. Rounding out the cast are Henry Thomas (Sons of Liberty), Carel Struycken (The Addams Family), Kate Siegel (Hush), and Chiara Aurelia (Agent Carter). With the cast in place, Flanagan released a brief statement about the project.
“Gerald’s Game has been my dream project for nearly 20 years. As a lifelong fan of Stephen King, it is a true honor to be trusted with this amazing material. I am deeply grateful to my longtime partner, Trevor Macy, and to my new partners at Netflix, for making this dream project a reality. This is one of the reasons I wanted to make movies in the first place.”
Dream project or no, Flanagan has his work cut out for him. Gerald’s Game follows husband and wife Gerald and Jessie as they spend a weekend in a secluded lake house in an attempt to revitalize their relationship. After being handcuffed to the bed post, Gerald suddenly dies leaving Jessie trapped as she slowly begins to starve, all while a mysterious entity—which may or may not actually exist—stares at her from the corner of the room.
Much of the novel takes place within Jessie’s own mind, becoming a sort of stream-of-conscious tale as she begins to confront her fate and the psychological scars from throughout her life. While this works on the page, translating it to the screen is another matter altogether. Various attempts have been made in the 25 years since the book’s release, but none have gotten very far.
Flanagan, however, seems well-suited for the task. Thematically speaking, Gerald’s Game isn’t too dissimilar from his 2014 film, Oculus. Both feature characters confronting demons from their pasts while slipping slowly into insanity. And the director has also proven his ability to form a taut, terrifying narrative with a small cast with Hush. His experience here makes Flanagan uniquely suited to handle the role.
With that in mind, much of the terror of the narrative will depend on the strength of Gugino’s performance. The actress has had a decades-long career across genres, so she certainly has the esteem. But Gerald’s Game promises to be a unique experience, and the intensity, quite literally, rests almost entirely on her shoulders. Flanagan does have a way of getting fantastic performances from the actresses he works with, however, so their combined force promises to be a delight of madness and horror.
Gerald’s Game currently has no premiere date, though it is expected to arrive sometime in 2017.
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