Amblin's adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub's novel The Talisman is moving forward with The Handmaid's Tale director Mike Barker at the helm. Published in 1984, The Talisman marked the first collaboration between King and Straub, two of the most successful horror novelists of all-time.
Though King and Straub indeed made their respective names as horror writers, The Talisman actually saw them departing from the genre, instead delving into a fantasy universe along similar lines to King's Dark Tower novels. The book's fantasy story concerns a 12-year-old boy named Jack Sawyer who, hoping to save his cancer-stricken mother, goes on a journey to find a mysterious talisman, but finds himself being pursued by the denizens of a parallel world called the Territories. King and Straub would follow the book up with a 2001 sequel titled Black House, featuring a grown up Jack Sawyer trying to solve a murder mystery in a small Wisconsin town.
Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners and The Kennedy/Marshall Company are teaming up to produce a movie adaptation of The Talisman, and as reported by Collider they've now settled on a director for the project in Mike Barker. Chris Sparling (Buried) has reportedly been hired to pen the script, after New Mutants director Josh Boone was previously involved with the project. Michael Wright is acting as executive producer.
The Talisman in fact marks a momentous pop culture moment, as it represents the first pairing of King and Spielberg. Indeed, Spielberg recently revealed that he first bought the rights to The Talisman when the book was originally released, and has been trying all these years to get a movie made. Now is certainly a great time to get a King movie produced, as the prolific author has never been hotter following the massive success of IT. This year, IT Chapter Two will conclude the saga of The Losers' Club begun in the 2017 blockbuster directed by Andy Muschietti. Other upcoming King adaptations include a movie version of Doctor Sleep, a remake of Pet Sematary, a new TV series version of Tommyknockers and an HBO series adaptation of The Outsider.
After directing several episodes of the dystopian series The Handmaid's Tale, Barker will now delve into a dark universe of a different sort, plunging headlong into one of King's fantasy worlds. King's fantasy works don't necessarily have a great track record when it comes to movie adaptations however, as The Dark Tower was a failure at the box office and ended talk of an entire series built around the cycle of books. It remains to be seen if The Talisman will work better for King fans than The Dark Tower did.