Stephen King's 'The Tommyknockers' Set For New Adaptation From James Wan [UPDATED]

UPDATE: After a bidding war erupted, Deadline reports it was Universal Pictures who landed the rights to The Tommyknockers, beating out both Netflix and Sony Pictures for the project. Our original story from March 29, 2018 follows below.The Tommyknockers is the latest work to jump aboard the Stephen King adaptation train. Following the blockbuster success of It, adaptations of King's work are in high demand. Now, The Conjuring director James Wan and It producer Roy Lee will team to bring King's 1987 horror/sci-fi novel The Tommyknockers to the screen. More on The Tommyknockers movie below.

Everybody wants to be in the Stephen King business, including James Wan. The Hollywood Reporter confirms Conjuring and Insidious director Wan and It producer Roy Lee are joining forces to set up a new film adaptation of King's The Tommyknockers. Wan and Lee are working with producer Larry Sanitsky, who also produced the 1993 miniseries adaptation of The Tommyknockers. If this all works out, Larry Santisky will be the only person in history to producer two versions of The Tommyknockers. Someone call Guinness World Records!

The producers are putting their offer for the adaptation out to both major studios and streaming services, including Netflix. Netflix might be quick to bite, since last year they shepherded two other King adaptations – Gerald's Game and 1922.

What is The Tommyknockers? 

The Tommyknockers is one of King's rare forays into science fiction. The story involves a centuries-old alien structure that gives anyone who comes in contact with it strange, inhuman, and destructive powers. King was inspired by the H.P. Lovercraft story  "The Colour Out of Space". Here's the plot synopsis:

On a beautiful June day, while walking deep in the woods on her property in Haven, Maine, Bobbi Anderson quite literally stumbles over her own destiny and that of the entire town. For the dull gray metal protrusion she discovers in the ground is part of a mysterious and massive metal object, one that may have been buried there for millennia. Bobbi can't help but become obsessed and try to dig it out...the consequences of which will affect and transmute every citizen of Haven, young and old. It means unleashing extraordinary powers beyond those of mere mortals—and certain death for any and all outsiders. An alien hell has now invaded this small New England aggressive and violent malignancy devoid of any mercy or sanity...

It's worth noting that King himself doesn't particularly care for the book. The prolific bestselling author penned The Tommyknockers while he was battling his addiction to alcohol and drugs. Years later, the author said:

"The Tommyknockers is an awful book. That was the last one I wrote before I cleaned up my act. And I've thought about it a lot lately and said to myself, "There's really a good book in here, underneath all the sort of spurious energy that cocaine provides, and I ought to go back." The book is about 700 pages long, and I'm thinking, 'There's probably a good 350-page novel in there.'"

The story itself – which involves people becoming addicted to the destructive power the alien craft gives off – can be read as an allegory for King's struggles with addiction. Producer Larry Santisky said as much in a statement obtained by THR:

"[The Tommyknockers] is an allegorical tale of addiction (Stephen was struggling with his own at the time), the threat of nuclear power, the danger of mass hysteria and the absurdity of technical evolution run amuck. All are as relevant today as the day the novel was written. It is also a tale about the eternal power of love and the grace of redemption."

I myself am a very big Stephen King fan, but I share King's belief that The Tommyknockers is, indeed, an awful book. That said, I also agree with King's statement that there is a good story in there somewhere, and perhaps James Wan and Roy Lee can nurture it with this new adaptation.