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SYFY WIRE Lisey's Story

Lisey's Story: Stephen King has Versace to thank for pushing him to adapt one of his personal favorite works

By Josh Weiss

There have been dozens of Stephen King adaptations over the years, but the prolific horror author has usually taken more of a hands-off approach by allowing writers and filmmakers to put their own unique stamp on his iconic novels, novellas, and short stories. Lisey's Story is a rare exception to that rule because the 2006 book is among King's personal favorites. Indeed, his love of the source material is what drove him to pen all eight episodes of the miniseries adaptation coming to Apple TV+ early next month.

"I would never have gotten involved with this thing at my age, if it wasn't," the 73-year-old King recently explained to Entertainment Weekly. "You know, they're all my favorites. I love them all. Some of them are difficult children to love, some of them a little bit easier. This is a little bit difficult to love, but I've always loved the story and that's the reason I got involved."

Another motivator was famed Italian fashion designer, Gianni Versace, or, more specifically, the 9-part FX series (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story) that chronicled his murder in 1997. "I looked at that thing and I said to myself, my goodness, this guy Tom Rob Smith wrote the whole thing," King added. "He wrote all eight or nine episodes, and I thought, 'Well, if he could do that, and bring it home and do such a great job, what about Lisey?'"

Executive-produced by King and J.J. Abrams, Lisey's Story is *ahem* the story of a recently-widowed woman (played by Julianne Moore) who begins to uncover a dark secret about her late husband, Scott Landon (Clive Owen), a best-selling author. Pablo Larraín (Jackie) helmed all eight episodes and executive-produces alongside King, Abrams, Ben Stephenson (Westworld) and Juan de Dios Larraín (Jackie).

For King, whose books are notorious for running in excess of 1,000 pages or more (Lisey's is a little over 500), the prospect of doing an eight-hour TV show excited him. "The whole form of longform TV is opened up in a way that it wasn't before," he said. "You have a chance to do more. You can be a little more graphic with language and with sexual situations and with length, [and have] the chance to do something that has that kind of spread, texture, and a little more nuance. For guys like me, it's been great."

"It's all in there," Moore told EW, referring to the fact that the adaptation is incredibly faithful to the book. "Because there's so much in it — psychological horror, romance, mystery, a science-fiction-like quality, sort of scary brutality — sometimes I was like, 'Holy cow, what now?'"

Lisey's Story premieres on Apple TV+ Friday, June 4.