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Stephen King’s new ‘Fairy Tale’ novel is already heading to theaters

'Bourne' movie alum Paul Greengrass will direct the film version of King’s epic fantasy story for Universal Pictures.

By Benjamin Bullard
Stephen King Fairy Tale

Wow — that didn’t take long. Only one month after the book debut of Stephen King’s new fantasy novel Fairy Tale, Universal Pictures has reportedly won a heated bidding skirmish that will transport the 600-page coming-of-age story out of readers’ imaginations and onto the big screen.

Deadline reports that Universal will adapt Fairy Tale into a feature film with director Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips, News of the World, the Bourne franchise) at the helm, ending a short-lived but high-stakes studio competition to land the rights to King’s sweeping story of a boy who discovers a incredible fantasy realm.

Written during the COVID-19 pandemic as a “happy” outlet to placate King’s prolific imagination, Fairy Tale debuted in book form last month with a story that follows 17-year-old protagonist Charlie Reade through the doors of a nondescript backyard shed and into a wondrous, but decaying, new world.

Like many of King’s fantasy stories, Fairy Tale isn’t a straightforward trip through only the idyllic and enticing parts of new discoveries. Charlie’s had a tough ride in his young life: His mother died in a hit-and-run accident, leaving his father to drown the tragedy in alcohol. But after going to work for a mysterious aging recluse named Howard Bowditch, Charlie eventually stumbles upon a well-concealed portal, long tucked away behind Howard’s decrepit hilltop mansion where the gateway to his high-stakes adventure beckons.

With his dog at his side, Charlie joins a secret conflict of good against evil, set within an alternate land inspired by King’s original visions of gargoyles, “haunted buildings,” “smashed statues,” and “a huge, sprawling palace with glass towers so high their tips pierced the clouds,” as the author explains in the novel’s synopsis.

Fairy Tale Stephen King PRESS

“Needless to say, I’m a Paul Greengrass fan and think he’s a wonderful choice for this film,” King said via Deadline’s report, assuring he’s all aboard Universal’s Fairy Tale film treatment. For his part, Greengrass described Fairy Tale as “a work of genius — a classic adventure story and also a disturbing contemporary allegory.”

Greengrass will reportedly produce the film adaptation alongside Greg Goodman (X-Men: First Class, Fantastic Four, Jason Bourne), though there’s no early word on casting or an eventual premiere date. In the meantime, you can get your Stephen King fix with the novel itself, while hitting up Netflix for Mr. Harrigan’s Phone the latest screen adaptation of the genre master’s work.

Looking for some thrills and chills? Check out SYFY originals like Chucky, Reginald the Vampire and SurrealEstate all on SYFY and the SYFY app.