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SYFY WIRE Darren Aronofsky

Stephen King's If It Bleeds dripping movies from Ben Stiller, Ryan Murphy, Jason Blum & Darren Aronofsky

By James Comtois
Stephen King

In the immortal words of Mel Brooks, "It's good to be the King." And seeing that Ben Stiller, Ryan MurphyJason Blum, and Darren Aronofsky are among the ever-growing list of producers getting in the Stephen King business these days, it's more than good; it's downright great.

Continuing Hollywood’s ongoing love affair with All Things King, three out of the four stories in the author’s latest anthology collection, If It Bleeds, have been optioned. And the fourth? Well, there's no word yet, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility, since it features a character who recently appeared in an adaptation for HBO.

Producers Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum are teaming up with Netflix to adapt King's short story “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” into a feature film, The Hollywood Reporter has revealed. John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks, The Blind Side) will adapt and direct. 

Meanwhile, Deadline is reporting that Ben Stiller has optioned another short story from the collection, “Rat,” for a feature that he plans to produce, direct, and star in. And thirdly, Darren Aronofsky’s production company Protozoa has optioned yet another If It Bleeds story, “The Life of Chuck."

The fourth story in the collection, “If It Bleeds,” revolves around Holly Gibney, the clairvoyant detective played by Cynthia Erivo in the HBO limited series The Outsider, which gives the network the opportunity to delve further into the Gibneyverse. So let's make it 4 for 4, shall we, HBO?

If It Bleeds

“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” centers on a young boy and an older billionaire who bond over the old man’s first iPhone. But when the old man dies, the boy discovers that he can communicate with his deceased friend by leaving voicemails on the iPhone that was buried with him. Mr. Harrigan’s Phone will be the fourth original film based on a King story that Netflix has produced, the previous three being Gerald’s Game, 1922, and In the Tall Grass.

“Rat” focuses on a frustrated writer named Drew Larson who heads out to an old family cabin in the woods to write a Western novel. When severe storms occur, he makes a Faustian bargain with a rat to alleviate his writer’s block.

“The Life of Chuck” concerns Charles Krantz, a man who dies of a brain tumor at 39 and whose life is segmented into supernatural chapter breaks.

In the fourth story, "If It Bleeds,” private detective Holly Gibney watches a news report of a school bombing and believes that the reporter on that story might not be the most objective of journalists. The character of Holly Gibney was also part of King’s Bill Hodges Trilogy, the Brendan Gleeson series that adapted the novels Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch.

No word yet on a timeline for any of the announced adaptations.