AMC is adapting Stephen and Owen King’s novel Sleeping Beauties. Few authors can lay claim to the degree of success that Stephen King has achieved throughout his lengthy career. The 71-year-old novelist has redefined horror writing to such a degree that few now realize that there was a time when horror wasn’t considered literature at all.
What’s more, King has apparently passed on some of his talent and expertise to his son, Owen, whom he collaborated with on Sleeping Beauties. The father and son combination apparently works, as Sleeping Beauties earned high-praise from numerous respected critics upon its initial release, and continues to sell well. Though the novel was only Owen’s second, much like his father, offers to adapt it into a live-action production have been quick to reach him early on in his career. When Anonymous Content (True Detective, The Revenant) secured the rights in 2017, they did so before the novel had even been released.
Thanks to Deadline, we now know that Sleeping Beauties is indeed heading to TV screens, as AMC commits to a pilot deal, with the ultimate goal being an open-ended series. Based on current information, it doesn’t appear that the elder King will have much to do with the production, as just Owen is confirmed to write the pilot script. That being said, it likely doesn’t hurt having Stephen King in your corner.
The plot of Sleeping Beauties has all the classic horror/thriller components that King fans have come to know and love, alongside a fresh and timely concept. When women in the small town of Dooling begin falling asleep, enmeshed in a strange sort of cocoon, the town’s men realize that waking them results in the womens’ uncontrollable rage and immediate willingness to murder anyone who disturbs them. The sickness is called Aurora and it exists everywhere in the world as well, not just in Dooling. But as the women of the world disappear into slumber, the men are left to their own devices and it soon becomes known that one woman in Dooling is immune to Aurora. In fact, she just may be mankind's only chance for understanding what Aurora really is and where the women go when they fall under its spell.
On its surface, Sleeping Beauties already has everything it needs to find its mark as a successful series. As previously mentioned, AMC has yet to commit to an entire series, having made a deal just for the pilot. However, given that its creative force comes at least in part from one of the most complex horror authors of all time, the fact that Sleeping Beauties seems a mixture of Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale bodes very well, especially at a time where gender is such a hot topic.