After years of ‘development hell,’ a film version of Stephen King’s ‘The Long Walk’ is closer to reality

Cover art for the latest reissue of “The Long Walk” by Stephen King. Courtesy Simon & Schuster

More than a decade after Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption”) bought the rights to Stephen King’s “The Long Walk,” a film adaptation of the dystopian novel is much closer to reality.

Darabont’s rights to “The Long Walk” lapsed sometime in the past year, and New Line — the producers of “IT” — snatched them up, reported SyFy on Wednesday. They’ve reportedly enlisted screenwriter James Vanderbilt (“Zodiac,” “The Amazing Spider-Man”) to pen it, and Brad Fischer (“Black Swan,” “The House With a Clock In Its Walls”) will produce. No other information is available at this time.

“The Long Walk” was the sixth book published by King — in 1979, under his Richard Bachman pseudonym — but was a story idea he first put to paper when he was a student at the University of Maine. It takes place in a dystopian future, in which 100 teenage boys each year participate in a grueling walking contest, starting at the Maine/Canada border and ending when the last walker is left standing — the rest have literally walked to death. The winner gets anything he wants, for the rest of his life. It’s a fan favorite and one of King’s rare forays into true science fiction, and it’s what is now called a young adult novel. Decades before “The Hunger Games” or “The Maze Runner,” there was “The Long Walk.”

Should we take bets now on whether or not producers completely disregard the fact that the book takes place in Maine? I feel like they almost certainly will. It’ll be set in California or Kansas or Florida or something. The main character, Ray, won’t be from Pownal. And it certainly won’t be filmed here. Womp womp.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, UMaine graduate, proud Bangorian and a writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food to all the cool things going on in the Greater Bangor area. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra. She's interested in everything that happens in Maine.