Francis Lawrence taking on Stephen King’s The Long Walk

The Long Walk book cover
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The director of The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes is heading to the world of Stephen King next with The Long Walk. More here:

Here’s one of two news updates today on projects based on Stephen King stories that will at some point be heading to a cinema near you. Oddly enough, both projects also focus on murderous dystopian TV contests and both were originally written under King’s Richard Bachman pseudonym, his one-time alter ego who was known for penning a harder, nastier brand of horror.

The first story concerns the announcement of The Long Walk, a novella published by King back in 1979. It was eventually published in a collection of other ‘Bachman tales’ in 1985. That collection also featured The Running Man, which is also in development at the moment with Edgar Wright this week offering an update on the project.

As for The Long Walk, 'the story is set in future dystopian America in which one hundred teens participate in an annual non-stop walking contest until only one of them is still standing alive and receiving a prize.’ It’s a pretty bleak tale that isn’t entirely different from the setup of The Hunger Games, the beloved YA film that Francis Lawrence has just released a prequel for. Much like The Hunger Games, teenagers are being killed live on television for the amusement of a dystopian society.

Attempts to get The Long Walk up and running (feel free to insert your own joke about running before you can walk here) have been tried at various points over the years.

There were rumours that horror legend George A Romero was approached in the 1980s, but that version never happened. Then in the mid-naughties, King-adapting regular Frank Darabont announced he had the rights and would get round to it. That never materialised, either. Most recently, James Vanderbilt was attached to write a screenplay in 2018 with André Øvredal, helmer of the still-not-released-in-the-UK Last Voyage Of The Demeter set to direct.

According to Business Insider, Francis Lawrence is attached to lead the project, but given that he also has a Constantine sequel, an I Am Legend sequel, and the BioShock movie on his slate, excuse us if we don’t start getting too excited just yet. We’ll bring you more on this one, if and when we hear it.

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