the long walk movie director

A little over a year ago, word broke that Stephen King‘s The Long Walk would be strutting its way onto the big screen. Now, The Long Walk movie has found its director. André Øvredal, who helmed The Autopsy of Jane Doe and the upcoming Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, will bring King’s dystopian story of teens forced to compete in a deadly marathon.

Deadline is reporting that André Øvredal will follow-up Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark with Stephen King’s The Long Walk. King wrote the book in the 1970s under his pseudonym Richard Bachman, and it’s since been republished with his own name splashed large across the cover. The story shares some similarities with The Hunger Games, in that it’s set in a dystopian society where young people are forced to compete in a deadly game. King later said he wrote The Long Walk in about a week. “I was white hot, I was burning,” the author stated. “It seemed like it snowed the whole week, and I wrote the book.”

Here’s the official synopsis:

In the near future, where America has become a police state, one hundred boys are selected to enter an annual contest where the winner will be awarded whatever he wants for the rest of his life. The game is simple – maintain a steady walking pace of four miles per hour without stopping. Three warnings, and you’re out – permanently.

As reported last year, James Vanderbilt, who wrote Zodiac, penned The Long Walk script. A potential Long Walk movie has been a dream of director Frank Darabont’s for years. Darabont had the rights to the book, and hoped to get around to adapting it some day.  “When I make [The Long Walk], that’ll be even lower budget than The Mist was,” the filmmaker said. “It’ll be weird, existential and very contained, like the story. A bit more of an arthouse film than anything.”

The rights eventually lapsed from Darabont, at which point Vanderbilt and producer Bradley Fischer acquired them. The Long Walk is a strong book, but it’s going to take some finagling to make it a bit cinematic. The setting is almost entirely on one long stretch of road, and Øvredal will have to get creative in order to keep that from growing stale. Autopsy of Jane Doe was fantastic, though, and made great use of one primary setting, so I have faith the filmmaker will be able to work some magic here.

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