Stephen King on why ‘Lizzie’s Story’ was the one he had to adapt himself


Dig into a Stephen King novel or watch one of his film adaptations, and the joys of life quickly become the fears of life. cars are evil man trap. prom is a nightmare. dogs? total sniffing machines.

but . Ask Pablo Lahren, director of “Lizzie’s Story” Kings. New supernatural mini-series based on 2006 novel, and in the king’s world, terror is Joy. Lahren learned that when he visited King at the writer’s house in Maine.

“He invited me to stay at a guesthouse, and he told me, ‘You’re the only guest, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone,’ and walked away,” said Lairén, Chile’s most famous director. movie “Jackie.” “I barely slept.”

“The next morning, he walked in with the eggs and made fun of me,” he said. The king knew that he had not frightened him by anything.

alone but not: This is a subject that courses through King’s Sweeping body of work, and it returns for several characters in layers of time and space in “Lysies Story” starting Friday on Apple TV+. Julianne Moore stars as Lissie Landon, the widow of Scott Landon, a noted novelist (played by Clive Owen), whose childhood traumas lead her to a connection to a transdimensional world called Booya Moon.

As the show clearly depicts, Booya Moon is a place of serene beauty, like a Pre-Raphaelite wonderland. But it’s also dangerous terrain, with cloaked figures sitting quietly inside a massive amphitheater waiting to be resolved by worldly traumas.

In recent years, there have been a series of glossy TV adaptations of King’s works, including “outsider” “under the Dome” and “The fog.” But “Lissy’s Story” is different. King where is that the novel is one of his favourites, and one that he wishes mold yourself. So he did: King wrote the entire series, something he didn’t do for a TV series adaptation of one of his own novels as he wrote the ABC mini-series version of “The Shining” (1997).

“I just hold it like you love something,” King, 73, said over the phone last month.

As is the case in many King stories, a main point of “Lici’s story” is mental illness. The zone between reality and paranoia is sensitively portrayed by Joan Allen in her role as Lissie’s sister Amanda, who is treated in a mental institution for catatonia and self-harm, suffering from other worlds. Mask the secrets. (Jennifer Jason Leigh plays the caretaker third sister, Darla.) Jim Dooley (Dane DeHaan), on the other hand, is a neurotic hunter whose one-minded quest for Scott’s unpublished work has violent consequences for the family.

Calling from Maine, King talked about the many storytelling layers of “Lysies Story” that are the responsibilities of horror creators and how there could be nothing that scares the human mind more. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

Of all your novels, why adapt “Lissy’s Story” yourself?

I held it, never expected I would do anything with it. But I like this book. Usually, I send them the same way you send a kid to college. You hope they do well, but you’ve gotten out of hand. If they do a great job, you can say, “It was based on my stuff.” If not, you can say they are worn out. If you’re going to be in it, you’re going to be in it all the way. It’s a huge commitment once you turn 70.

Why Episodic Television?

It is more novel. “Lizzie’s Story” is a long book. The novels that work best in movies tend to be shorter and more simple. I don’t think “Lizzie’s Story” will work as a movie because it has so many layers.

I also like the idea that you can stretch the story a bit. But you have to be careful because if it’s going to be eight hours long, you have to hold on to the audience.

It can be hard to figure out when it comes to depicting mental illness, especially in the horror genre, where insanity drives almost everything. How do you ensure this sensitively?

It’s important to see that the characters are round and not pop-up characters – not to make fun of someone with a mental problem or say it’s their own fault. I don’t think it is. you have to look mentally ill [character] As in not a mistake. But still they have to be treated or taken to a place where they can’t hurt other people.

How much of Dane’s character is based on a real-life stalker from your own experience?

There have been some deep space cowboys in our lives. One of them broke into our house. I was not here. tabby [King’s wife, the writer Tabitha King] Was alone at home, and the man said he had a bomb. It was a box, and it was not a bomb. It contained things related to a pencil eraser and a bread tie. She ran out of the house and went to the neighbor and the police. The man was probably not dangerous. there’s a guy who drives around a van that says I killed John Lennon. There are naughty people out there.

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Jim and a frightened librarian have a conversation that is incredibly tense. Where did the idea for this come from?

It was not in the original. Pablo came up to me and said: “What would you think if he were in a library? Can you write down some things that are dangerous but also strange?” He mentioned Quentin Tarantino and the dialogue he did. I said that I can do this. So I did.

How was working on this show different from when you first adapted one of your novels for TV, like . broadcast version of “tripod” From the 1990s?

Ads break the flow. If you’re trying to make people believe in imaginary events, it’s like waking them up from sleep to see an ad. But this way, I was only concerned with telling the story and keeping it clear and leaving something out in the end that brought people on to the next.

They say that the moment you show the demon, you take away its power. “Lissy’s Story” is a show-not-tell adaptation, unlike “outsider” In which almost nothing supernatural is depicted. Why that approach?

The real world would have to be done very carefully. You have to tie the fantasy and horror together with very fine stitches so that the person who reads or reads the book will say, these are real people and I understand their problems. Then you say, I’m going to put people you know and understand in a different position which is probably untrue. “The Outsider,” the series and book, are about how we react when faced with the unspeakable.

“Lissy’s Story” has elements that are realistic. Pablo and I spent a lot of time in preproduction, and he said: “Stephen, Booya Moon doesn’t really exist, does it? It’s a fantasy creation where Scott goes to escape his mental illness like a safety valve.” I said, “It’s a real place, whether it already exists or he made it.” He actually took it for granted and became a complete fan of the idea.

There’s a scene between the characters Julian and Dane that involves a pizza cutter, and it’s pretty bloody. Have your views changed over the years as to what are the responsibilities of horror artists when it comes to portraying violence, especially violence against women?

Violence against women happens, and the real issue [when writing fiction] How does the woman react to that? Lissie responds sternly. In this respect, he is a role model. She isn’t all beaten up and scared. She pretends to be, but she isn’t. Those scenes are hard to watch, but it’s like what Hitchcock said “Psycho”: Most of what is in your imagination. We never see a single cut on Julianne Moore or a blow to her face. You listen and listen to his reaction and then, but don’t act yourself.

My view of what you would call the vulgarity of violence – when you see someone’s face chopped off – is that it’s important that you care about the characters. It’s not like the “Friday the 13th” movies, where you come into the theater to watch 16 horny teens die in 16 interesting ways, whether it’s an arrow through a breast or squeezing a head. “Lizzie’s Story” is more artistic and more suggestive.

You’ve said that “Lissy’s story” was inspired by a near-death experience. How has this made you reevaluate your life and work?

I had double pneumonia, and I was in the hospital for a long time. I was very ill, and my wife took the opportunity to re-decorate my study, which was old and beat up. To me, it’s almost like a terminal where I go to explode.

After I came out of the hospital, she said: “You probably don’t want to go to your office. You won’t like it.” Of course I went there, and it’s in a transitional state. All the books were packed in boxes to go back to the shelves. I was on different medications and I looked around the office And thought maybe I’m dead. It’ll be like this: You have to clean everything up after the person dies. Then I thought that would be a great start to the story, and everything else fell into place.

With the pandemic and protests against election and racial justice last summer, many people are having a life-changing confrontation with mortality. are you

I don’t realize it. It is a great relief mentally that Trump is no longer in the White House. Whether or not any of this is reflected in my work? I doubt

Is there a book or TV show that you have watched during the pandemic that has inspired you?

I watched a lot of “Law & Order: SVU”. There are many good stories. I have saying on twitter That I would love to see “Law & Order: Vampire Squad”.

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