J.J. Abrams And Stephen King Team For Billy Summers Limited Series Adaptation

One of the biggest names in horror racks up another adaptation of his original material. Bad Robot Productions, J.J. Abrams' production company, will be developing a limited series adaptation of Stephen King's best-selling 2021 novel "Billy Summers." Ed Zwick ("Courage Under Fire") & Marshall Herskovitz ("Love and Other Drugs") will handle the adaptation, which Deadline reports will aim for six to ten episodes with Zwick in the captain's chair. Bad Robot has nothing to say about it yet, but the series will be shopped around to the major cable networks and streaming services. This marks Bad Robot's fourth series adaptation with King, after "Lisey's Story," "Castle Rock," and "11.22.63."

The story follows ready-to-retire gun-for-hire Billy Summers, who we meet as he accepts one last high-paying gig. Posing as a writer, Summers is tasked to eliminate fellow hitman Joel Allen ahead of a trial; Allen knows enough and has seen enough to make some dangerous men nervous, hence the hit. As Summers digs into his employer, he tumbles down a perilous rabbit hole with big implications.

While known for genre classics like "The Stand" and "It," the novelist has had his work brought to the big screen since Brian De Palma hosted "Carrie" at prom in 1976. This isn't the "Christine" author's first journey away from horror — he's written enough hardboiled pulp tributes to release a Hard Case Crime collection. King previously wrote "The Colorado Kid" in 2005, a 2013 fairground thriller called "Joyland," and last year's "Later" for the Hard Case Crime imprint.

Where Will It Land?

In 2019, Abrams and Bad Robot co-CEO Katie McGrath signed a five-year, $250 million deal to write, produce, and direct projects for WarnerMedia, a move that snubbed a $500 million offer by Apple but got the production outfit's fingers into lucrative DC Comics-based IP that includes "Justice League Dark," "Constantine," and "Superman." The overall deal allows Abrams to house both his film and TV deals in one place, but also gives freedom to Bad Robot sell to third-party suppliers if the Warner-owned outlets aren't interested, so don't count on the series to land on HBO Max just yet. HBO competitor Netflix has also supplieed plenty of Stephen King adaptations: Carla Gugino regrets wearing handcuffs in Mike Flanagan's 2017 feature "Gerald's Game;" Thomas Jane does a Tell-Tale Heart riff in "1922," and Patrick Wilson acts creepy and sings "Midnight Special" in 2019's "In the Tall Grass." Apple did eventually get their chance to host a King adaptation, too; the streamer released a series adaptation of psychological horror "Lisey's Story" in the summer of 2021. Wherever it ends up, fans are in for an un-Billy-vibly good time.