Can someone please expain to me how exactly Stephen King keeps landing scriptwriting jobs? I just checked the IMDB and according to them he’s got eighty one writing credits to his name. Eighty one! And of those eighty one I can count maybe a handful that are actually good films, virtually all of which were originally written under different names and adapted by other writers. Everything I’ve ever seen by this man that was written directly for the screen has been just horrible. And yet he keeps getting hired. Hence the five King written projects currently in development. Sure, the guy sells books but he can’t write a good screenplay to save his life – and lest you think I’m being cruel to poor Stevey the same can be said for a lot of other novelists, notably William Gibson whose novels are amazing and screenplays are similarly wretched.
But on to specifics. I’m a big fan of Lars Von Trier. I like all of his stuff, but I have a particularly weak spot for a little mini-series he did in Denmark called the Kingdom. It currently exists in two runs, each run being 4 episodes with the third and closing run likely never to happen thanks to a little over half of his principle cast up and dying on him. True story. Thus, I cringed when I heard that ABC had bought the rights to the show and hired Stephen King to rewrite it for American audiences. I’ve been avoiding it on tv but thanks to the wonders of the internet I’ve just skimmed through the first three episodes and this thing is truly, wretchedly bad. I feel dirty. Yes, it suffers from bad casting and pacing but the root problem goes back to the writing which is so heavy handed and clumsy that it makes Von Trier – Lord of the Melodrama and Whacking of People Over the Head To Make His Point – appear subtle. And yet despite the heavy handedness it takes King THREE HOURS to get to a point in the narrative that Von Trier reaches in the first episode of the original. Good Lord, man! Make it stop! MAKE IT STOP!!!
I’m feeling very grateful for my delete key right now.