Legendary director Steven Spielberg reportedly loved Stephen King‘s The Talisman (co-written by Peter Straub) book so much that in 1982 he bought the film rights for it outright and in perpetuity. He has spent over 35 years trying to make the story into a movie.
Now it has found a home on Netflix not as a film but as a series.
The Duffer Brothers of Stranger Things fame will serve as executive producers while Spielberg’s Amblin Studios and Paramount Television Studios in association with Netflix.
Curtis Gwinn, who was the writer-exec producer on Stranger Things, takes the helm as showrunner and writer on the project. Originally a comedic writer, he has worked on The Walking Dead and Narcos in the past.
Talisman tells the story of a 12-year-old boy named Jack Sawyer who has set off on a road-trip adventure to save his dying mother. He soon discovers the Talisman can not only save his mother but the whole world. The story takes place in two realities: the real world and a dark, twisted mirror called The Territories.
The idea for a collaborative book between King and Straub dates back to 1977 in London when the two met. They became friends, both being fans of each other’s writing. Years later when both authors moved to the States the talks got serious. The Talisman was highly anticipated before release, reportedly given a 550,000USD marketing budget. Many believed it would be “the greatest horror novel ever written.” After publication, their literary friendship continued and they started writing the sequel, Black House, in 1999.
Peter Straub is best known for his novels Ghost Story, Lost Boy, Lost Girl, and In the Night Room. Several of his novels have won the Bram Stoker Award. Two of his books have been made into movies. Full Circle (based on the novel Julia) released in 1977 and Ghost Story in 1981.
Published in 1984, The Talisman spent 12 weeks at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, with a total of 23 weeks on the list. A sequel, titled Black House, was released in 2001 and features Jack Sawyer (now an adult) as a retired Los Angeles homicide detective trying to solve a series of murders in the small town of French Landing, Wisconsin. A third book is planned.
The Talisman has also been made into a graphic novel series published in 2009 similar to The Stand and The Dark Tower graphic novels. Unfortunately, only six issues of the originally planned 24 were made.
For more on Stephen King, check out: