Over the past 40 years, Stephen King has rightfully earned a legacy as one of the most prolific writers of our time, specifically thanks to his work in the realm of horror. Filmmaker Zak Hilditch adapted King's novella 1922 for a feature film, which he both wrote and directed. For the adaptation, which is currently streaming on Netflix, the filmmaker made one major tweak to the film's ending, a decision he recently shed light on with ComicBook.com.
King's original story has a clear, definitive ending, but Hilditch opted to end the story a little bit earlier to give a feeling of ambiguity.
"I always had a very clear idea in my mind the way it ends, which is the way it ends in the movie," Hilditch confessed.
The film tells the story of Wilfred (Thomas Jane) and his quest to keep his farm in his family, even killing his wife to ensure his family's legacy. The narrative structure of the story shows Wilfred in the future, looking back on his life and the way his decisions have impacted his life.
"The beauty of it is the unreliable narrator, not really knowing if it's really happening to him or not, and that was the exact line I wanted to play in the movie," the filmmaker shared of balancing the film's reality with its supernatural elements. "In the book, it does, at the end, segue into more of a definite answer. I just didn't want to go down that path in the movie. I thought that, I just like movies where you're given enough clues, then things are often left up to your own interpretation. That was something that I wanted to do. I didn't want to put a neat little button on exactly what the deal was with Wil."
The filmmaker went on to elaborate about the process of adapting the story into a feature film.
"Some of the characters that had to be cut out of the movie, even though it's only like 110 pages, it's such an epic story, and there were all sorts of other things that were great about that world and the people that entered [main character] Wilfred's life and they just had to go in terms of turning it into a film that was under two hours," Hilditch pointed out. "It's just that fine balance of getting the tone and the feel of the thing just right. You do have to make some pretty hard decisions, especially when everything in the story was so rich, and so good."
Interestingly, Thomas Jane also starred in the adaptation of Stephen King's The Mist, a film which expanded the source story's ending, as opposed to cutting it short.
You can stream 1922 now on Netflix.