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Student filmmakers are helming their own Stephen King adaptation after purchasing the rights for $1

Contributed by
Oct 22, 2018

After decades of uneven, often forgettable film adaptations, the work of Stephen King is experiencing a bit of a renaissance lately. From 2017's IT and its upcoming sequel, Netflix's 1922, and Hulu's King-inspired Castle Rock, along with scores of other projects in development. So many that it'll soon be possible to overlook The Dark Tower

Now, two students are getting in on the action as they prepare to adapt King's short story Stationary Bike. According to Mashable, 16-year-old Alfie Evans and 14-year-old Cerys Cliff, who attend the Blaenau Gwent Film Academy, purchased the rights to Stationary Bike from the author directly for $1.

The deal is part of King's Dollar Babies initiative, a section of his website where student filmmakers can purchase the rights to one piece of his work for the low, low price of $1 -- provided it's not already under contract. The students' tutor, Kevin Phillips, said they emailed King's secretary, and within a matter of days they had a contract in place, signed by King himself. 

Stationary Bike comes from King's short story collection Just After Sunset. The plot revolves around a man who's trying to get healthy by riding, you guessed it, a stationary bike. As he starts to unclog his arteries, he dreams about tiny maintenance workers working tirelessly inside his circulatory system. 

The two students estimate some 30 of their classmates will bring the project to life once they have a script in place, with plans to have a completed film sometime in the spring. Once it's done, King himself will be watching it.

"They insist that we send him a copy," Phillips explained. "That was part of the contract -- Stephen always loves to see the work."

The author has had a version of the project in place since the 70s, which helped launch the career of Frank Darabont, who directed The Woman in the Room in 1983. Eleven years later, he directed The Shawshank Redemption, arguably the most universally beloved movie based on the author's extensive work.

Time will tell if this ends up launching the teenage filmmakers' careers, but it's a heck of a way to get their foot in the door in the meantime. 

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