‘Hush’ Director is Adapting Stephen King’s ‘Gerald’s Game’ for Netflix
Mike Flanagan has had a big year, with three of his movies—Before I Wake, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Netflix’s Hush—all premiering in 2016. Next, he’s taking on Stephen King’s horrific Gerald’s Game, about a woman named Jessie whose husband is into sexual domination play, and who leaves her handcuffed to a bed only to have a heart attack and die minutes later. Jessie is left chained to the bed for days while she might be going mad, because there appears to be another presence in the room with her.
Flanagan’s adaptation has been in development for a few years, but it wasn’t until his neat little horror flick Hush premiered on Netflix that his Gerald’s Game plans took off. Hush did so well on the streaming service that Netflix approached him about adapting the Stephen King book for them. Flanagan sat down with Rue Morgue to talk about his plans for the adaptation and how sad he feels when a King adaptation fails:
If you know the source material, you’ll know there are a lot of challenges inherent in that story. Not so much the narrative challenges of how to adapt it; it took me 10 years of constantly thinking about the book to crack the cinematic version. But it’s a real challenge for financiers and distributors, who say, ‘Yeah, we love your work, we love Stephen King, but this story, this particular story? We don’t know how it works,’ without reshaping it to fit a much more conventional structure, which I did not want to do.
And Netflix, because of how well Hush has done, said, ‘We’re really interested in this, and we’d like to do it the way you want to do it.’ And that eliminated the pressure of having to test-screen the movie and define the demographic that’s going to watch it—all of that stuff that typically comes into the conversation when you’re trying to figure out how to market a film for a wide theatrical release. It just cleared the table, so that I can make the movie I want to make. I’m hoping very much that we can get that movie up on its feet soon.
Netflix has been letting artists have their freedom for a while now. For example: this year’s release of The Characters saw eight up-and-coming comedians each get one 30-minute episode in which to show off their considerable skills. There were no rules, apart from the time limit and the fact that they all had to play multiple characters within their stories. Other production companies have to extract the maximum amount of revenue from every single thing they produce, which can stall or even completely halt even the most promising of projects. Netflix doesn’t need to worry about that.
We’re excited to see how Flanagan does with Gerald’s Game, and even more excited that we’ll get to watch the premiere while cozied up in the comfort of our own homes. Before I Wake will be in theaters September 9, with Ouija: Origin of Evil following right behind on October 21.