The Talisman is a project that has apparently been through development hell a time or two in the past and has been optioned more than once throughout the years, but hopefully we’ll be seeing it come out soon as a film adaptation is being put into the works. The book, written by Stephen King and Peter Straub, is about the tale of a young boy named Jack Sawyer that sets out from New Hampshire in a desperate bid to save his mother. At the same time his mother is dying from cancer, and only by finding a crystal called “the Talisman” will he be able to save her. His journey eventually takes him throughout the heartland of America and a strange fantasy land known only as “the Territories”, which is a strange but parallel universe that mirrors the United States. The fun thing about this is that both worlds share a great many similarities and yet have their own distinctive feel.
If you’re a fan of Stephen King and have read the book then you already know that like many other books it ties into The Dark Tower series which is in many ways the epicenter of much of his writing. What some fans might not know is that The Talisman is a book that has been around for a very long time now and only in recent years been really seen as something worth finally pushing forward to create a truly fun and engaging for the fans that have stuck around for so long. The fact that it’s been attempted more than once but never really gotten that far isn’t too surprising since a lot of Stephen King’s stories have been pushed for TV and movies and the track record is, unfortunately, not all the great. Some have done great and others have kind of fizzled when it came to the final product.
Yes, the Dark Tower movie was a very big miss. Considering how important the series is to a lot of King’s works since there are connections upon connections to the Dark Tower series in so many of his books, it’s hard to see how anyone would possibly miss the mark so horribly and create something that was almost a literal plunge into the kind of disappointment that leaves people wondering just why in the world it would ever be allowed. The hope is that The Talisman will be treated with a lot more accuracy and a great deal more respect, but we’ll see what happens. The book has actually been nominated for a couple of awards in the past and it did spawn a sequel, Black House, in which Jack has grown into an adult and become an LA cop trying to solve a series of murders in a small town. This has also been planned as trilogy which leaves it wide open for possible future films.
King’s creations have been experiencing a huge push as of late and a lot of his stories seem on the verge of being given a movie adaptation or a TV representation. In fact there are still movies coming out in the near future that are King’s creations and are already being widely anticipated to be more faithful representations than those that have come before. To be fair some ideas that King has had have been taken and made into very memorable movies and TV series, but at the same time the past mistakes are hard to forget. Right now it would seem that people are finally starting to bring King’s masterpieces to life in a way that those of us that read his books are truly appreciating since they stick to the main details and aren’t going off solely what the directors or producers want to see. The one thing that tends to kill a movie based on a great book is when it refuses to take the source material and run with it the way that it sits. In the case of King-based movies this has been a big problem in the past.
The Talisman seems like a movie that people will need to actually read the book to understand, just like many of his movies have been. The basis one needs to really get into a lot of King’s movies is this, a great deal of what he does focuses in some way on an aspect of the Dark Tower. One could argue that you don’t really need to read every book he’s written, it certainly helps. But if you only read The Talisman then you’ll at least have a good idea of what’s going on and how the story is supposed to go. Otherwise those that don’t read the story will be those that either don’t get it or will think that it’s a decent movie without any real idea of what it could have been like.
But for those of us that like King’s movies, books, possibly both, the real reason we’ll be watching The Talisman will be to see just how accurate the director decides to be.