At the height of his filmmaker prowess in the 1980s, Steven Spielberg made a deal to secure the rights to Stephen King and Peter Straub's upcoming book The Talisman a full two years before it was published. In the decades since then the Oscar winner has tried and failed to turn the fantasy-horror novel into a feature film but now it seems like it's finally happening. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Spielberg’s Amblin Television has teamed up with Stranger Things creators The Duffer Bros. and Stranger Things writer/EP Curtis Gwinn to turn the title into a TV series at Netflix. Paramount Television Studios is also involved in the production.
Gwinn will serve as the showrunner for the series which has Spielberg and the Duffers acting as executive producers. The official synopsis for the book, according to King's website, reads as follows: "Twelve-year-old Jack Sawyer embarks on an epic quest--a walk from the seacoast of New Hampshire to the California coast--to find the talisman that will save his dying mother's life. Jack's journey takes him into the Territories, a parallel medieval universe, where most people from his own universe have analogs called 'twinners.' The queen of the Territories, Jack's mother's twinner, is also dying." A sequel, titled Black House, was released in 2001 and saw King draw ties between the book and his famous The Dark Tower series.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly about his quest to adapt the book, Spielberg said back in 2018: ““I feel that in the very near future, that’s going to be our richest collaboration. Universal bought the book for me, so it wasn’t optioned. It was an outright sale of the book. I’ve owned the book since ’82, and I’m hoping to get this movie made in the next couple of years. I’m not committing to the project as a director, I’m just saying that it’s something that I’ve wanted to see come to theaters for the last 35 years.”
The only other official collaboration between the famous Steves is the CBS series adaptation of Under the Dome. Previously the pair almost worked together on a very famous feature film, the project that became Poltergeist.
Multiple Stephen King projects remain in the works in Hollywood but The Talisman joins a smaller list of TV adaptations which include an Overlook Hotel series at HBO Max and a 'Salem's Lot series at EPIX (both prequels to the source material).