The next big Stephen King project has been ordered up by HBO. According to Deadline, the premium cable channel has given the green light to a 10-episode limited series based on the horror master's latest novel, The Outsider, which came out this past May.
Ben Mendelsohn, recently seen in Ready Player One and Robin Hood and soon to appear as the leader of the Skrulls in Captain Marvel, will star in and be a producer on the show. Our guess is that Mendelsohn will play lead protagonist Ralph Anderson, a detective in a small Oklahoma city whose investigation of a horrifying child murder puts him on the trail of a killer unlike anything he's ever encountered.
Production company Media Rights Capital (MRC) optioned the book earlier in the year and hired novelist and screenwriter Richard Price (The Night Of) to pen and executive produce the series. Actor/director Jason Bateman's production firm, Aggregate Films, is also on board and Bateman himself will direct the first two episodes and possibly appear in the series as well.
Based on Bateman's work directing the dark small town drama series Ozark, on which he also stars and is a producer, we could easily see him tackling the same kind of environment for a King tale.
Another creative involved in all this is Jack Bender, a director and producer who has helmed the bulk of the first two seasons of Mr. Mercedes, a King adaptation which was recently renewed for a third year on the Audience channel.
Without delving too much into spoilers, a character from the three books on which Mr. Mercedes is based -- King's "Bill Hodges trilogy" -- is also featured prominently in The Outsider. It will be interesting to see whether that character remains in the adaptation and is even played by the same performer.
The Outsider is just the latest entry in the ongoing King renaissance on both the small and big screen. It: Chapter Two, Doctor Sleep, Pet Sematary and The Tommyknockers are all headed to theaters within the next couple of years, while Mr. Mercedes, Castle Rock, In The Tall Grass, The Dark Tower and The Stand are either enjoying success already on TV/streaming services or in development.