Director Alex Ross Perry is about to become one of the many writer/directors who puts a Stephen King-sized notch in their belt as he prepares to adapt the novel The Dark Half for MGM. Perry is hot off the success of his well-reviewed film Her Smell, starring Elisabeth Moss and released earlier in 2019.
Now, Perry has his sights on the world of King, one of the most frequently (if not the most frequently) adapted authors for film and television. According to Deadline, Perry will be adapting King’s 1989 tale The Dark Half for MGM. The story follows an author named Thad Beaumont, a recovering alcoholic laying low in the small town of Ludlow, Maine, While Thad has had minor success as an author under his real name, he’s risen to higher heights through novels written under his pseudonym, “George Stark,” thanks in part to the Stark novels exploring the life of a fictional serial killer named Alexis Machine. When it’s revealed Thad and George are the same person, Thad’s wife, Liz, suggests the couple have a mock burial for the George Stark pen name. Naturally, things go very King-like as the story takes a dark turn and George actually rises up from the grave and seeks out Thad. This is certainly a not surprising choice of text for Perry to adapt as he’s been known to go quite dark in some of his original works. Perry’s Her Smell, Queen of Earth, and even Golden Exits all have varying degrees of sharp edges to them, hinting at Perry’s potential to go completely dark as a writer and a director. His adaptation of The Dark Half will no doubt see him go full-tilt into the abyss as he brings this story, which bears some resemblance to King’s own frustrations with finding more success writing under the pseudonym “Richard Bachman” in the ’70s and ’80s, to the big screen for MGM.
This isn’t the first time The Dark Half has been put up on the big screen. The novel was previously turned into a movie starring Timothy Hutton as Thad/George and Amy Madigan as Liz. by the late George Romero in 1993. The Dark Half is just the latest of King’s work to be brought to screens big and small. In 2019 alone, we’ve gotten our fill of King on the big screen. Movie adaptations for IT: Chapter Two and Doctor Sleep arrived in late 2019. Meanwhile, TV works have included In the Tall Grass and Creepshow with the Hulu series Castle Rock, based on King’s works, airing its second season and The Outsider coming to HBO in 2020.