Stephen King recently released a collection of four novellas titled If It Bleeds and the prolific horror author has just optioned three of the terrifying tales to a trio of Hollywood’s top producers.
Ben Stiller has optioned Rat, which he intends to direct, produce and star in, while Darren Aronofsky has optioned The Life of Chuck and will produce an adaptation under his Protozoa banner. The latter story follows a middle-aged man named Charles Krantz whose life is segmented into several supernatural chapter breaks. Meanwhile, Rat follows a frustrated writer named Drew Larson who makes a Faustian bargain with a rat to alleviate his writer’s block, trading professional success for the life of a loved one.
Finally, Ryan Murphy has teamed with Netflix and Blumhouse to option Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, which John Lee Hancock will adapt and direct. The story follows a young boy who befriends an older billionaire who lives in his small-town Maine neighborhood, and they bond over the man’s first iPhone. But when the man dies, the boy discovers he’s still able to communicate with his friend from beyond the grave by contacting the device that was buried with him.
Murphy will produce the movie alongside Jason Blum and Carla Hacken. Blumhouse Television’s Marci Wiseman and Jeremy Gold will serve as executive producers on the project — Netflix’s fourth King adaptation following 1922, Gerald’s Game, and In the Tall Grass.
The fourth novella in If It Bleeds is titled Let It Bleed, and it features clairvoyant detective Holly Gibney. Holly was a character on the recent HBO miniseries The Outsider, which saw her played by Cynthia Erivo, so while the new story hasn’t been optioned itself yet, HBO could always snap it up and draw from it in the event the network brings The Outsider back for another season, as hinted in a post-credits scene in the finale. The character also appeared in King’s Bill Hodges trilogy that serves as the basis for the Brendan Gleeson series Mr. Mercedes.
King famously options his work for just $1 to filmmakers both established and unproven, and if the projects ever get made, not only is he handsomely rewarded, but he’s creatively involved in the process. As noted by Deadline, the last time King set up this many projects based on one of his novella collections was 1982’s Different Seasons, which included the stories The Body, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, and The Breathing Method. The Body became Rob Reiner’s classic Stand By Me, while Frank Darabont and Bryan Singer directed The Shawshank Redemption and Apt Pupil, respectively. As for The Breathing Method, it’s in development at Blumhouse with Scott Derrickson attached to direct.