by Stephen King is one of my all-time favorite books (one of the few I've read more than once) and every time I read it, I see certain celebrities as the characters in the book. I've heard rumors that they're making a film, but IMDb.com has nothing on it yet.
Considering the dismal track record of King adaptations, I'd just as soon they didn't. 20 years later and I'm still annoyed at the clusterf*ck that was the tv miniseries of IT
(which is MY all-time favorite King novel.)
The problem with King is that his best material is not in the form of dialogue, but rather narration and internal monologues of the sort that would be clumsy to translate to screen. Take, for instance, the LOL-funny scene in IT
when the pothead is watching the standpipe collapse and roll down the hill. To start with, the very best line from that scene ([Had he been standing downhill the rush of water would have swept him away but] "God protects fools, children, and the cataclysmically stoned") is automatically lost unless you either have another character witnessing this scene or you do it in the form of a voiceover (blech.) The character's reactions to the standpipe slowly bending and then breaking could be translated from narration to verbal expressions all right, but the hilarity of his constantly replaying the thought that the standpipe looks like "that f*cked-up tower in Pisa, the one on all the macaroni boxes" would almost certainly get lost in translation. In the end, pretty much all you'd be left with is a stoned guy screaming "FAR F*CKING OOOUT!!" a great deal, which isn't very funny. What makes the scene so fun in the book is lost.
Now, that scene was pretty disposable, which is why nothing like it was in the miniseries, but it's part of what made the book so great--that sort of attention to detail and King's ability to capture a moment, even from a passer-by's point of view in a throwaway scene that has little to do with anything, but still gives the book it's flavor. To be fair, however, let's address a more critical scene that really NEEDS to make it from the book into the movie if the movie is going to be even remotely true to the book, such as the final chapter of IT
In the book, the chapter is split between two sequences. In one, Bill is evaluating himself and his life, pondering what to do about his catatonic wife, wondering if he still has the adolescent recklessness to put into motion the crazy plan he's concocted to bring her back.
In the other, Bill is dreaming very poignantly about his childhood in Derry. You bounce back and forth between passages from these two sequences (which is yet another amazing feat of writing on King's part, to be able to do that and keep the narrative coherent.)
In turns, you see Bill reach out and become
a child, with a child's belief in magic, one last time in order to recapture the life-saving power that infused his relationship with his bike, Silver, taking his catatonic wife on one last suicidal ride through Derry's flooded streets and shocking her back to consciousness.
Interspersed with that you get this very soft, dreamy description of what Derry looks like in the late day as Bill drives through it on his way out of the town, and then a moment when he sees the Barrens and thinks about his childhood friends which provokes the tear-worthy unspoken line in the narration: "I loved you children. I loved you so much." Which is the point at which you truly understand he's never again going to see--or even remember--these other children with whom he formed such an incredibly close bond that it drew them together after nearly 30 years apart, and you FEEL that loss. He wakes from the dream ALMOST remembering his childhood and the friends he'd had.
In the movie, he takes his wife on a bike ride. She wakes up. And that's it. You never understand just how the bike ride was able to wake her, because the movie never captured the talisman-like quality of the bike, Silver, and how important it had been in saving his life that summer. And you certainly don't get that amazing dream sequence with all its lovely imagery and poignant farewell.
Sorry, this ended up being way longer than I anticipated, but I've spent a lot of time pondering WHY King doesn't translate well to screen, and I think the answer is that it's just too cerebral. Too much of what he writes happens in the mind, or in the narration, and just doesn't adapt well to a medium which is largely dependent upon physical action and dialogue.