Stephen King's works are among the most adapted novels in Hollywood, but he still has many stories that have yet to be turned into a movie or TV show. It turns out, after so much success, King is more interested in helping young people learn than making another boatload of cash. That's why King recently sold the production rights to one of his short stories to a group of students in Wales for just one dollar.
Film students at Blaenau Gwent Film Academy in Wales, UK, thought that the chance to adapt a Stephen King short was a long-shot at best when they visited the "Dollar Babies" section of his website. It's there that film students can request to produce King's works that aren't currently under contract.
The group's tutor, Kevin Phillips, commented to Mashable:
We knew already that Stephen King was excellent at supporting education establishments. [And] we came across this website where, actually, he releases many of his short stories for adaption, you know non-profit of course.
The group requested to adapt "Stationary Bike" from King's collection of short stories, Just After Sunset. Phillips describes the process as refreshingly easy:
We pretty much emailed his secretary, Margaret, and she came back to us in 24 hours, and we told her what we wanted to do, that it's not for profit, that our students would be making it, and she sent us a contract through which was signed by Stephen King himself.
Production on Stationary Bike has now begun, with two students, "16-year-old Alfie Evans and 14-year-old Cerys Cliff," adapting the prose into a script. Once the script is set, Phillips believes a team of 30 students will be working together to turn it into a film.
King did have one request written into his contract, however: he gets to see the final product.
They insist that we send him a copy. That was part of the contract — Stephen always loves to see the work and please send him a DVD when it's all complete.
Phillips is incredibly grateful to King for giving his students the opportunity to jump start their careers:
The main thing is that it'll be used to boost the confidence of our young, up-and-coming film-makers to actually say that they've worked on a Stephen King film. It won't only boost their confidence, but it'll also enhance their CVs and hopefully stand as a stepping stone to further their careers.
It wouldn't be the first time one of King's "Dollar Babies" influenced a young filmmaker's career. Frank Darabont, director of The Shawshank Redemption, got his start adapting King's short story "The Woman in the Room."
The Shawshank Redemption - Trailer - (1994) - HQ youtu.be
Now, a new generation of filmmakers will have the chance to cut their teeth on the works of the King!