It was more than two years ago when we first reported on a film adaptation of Gerald’s Game, Stephen King’s book about the heartbreak of not knowing where you left your keys, be they to the front door or the handcuffs chaining you to a bed long after your husband has unexpectedly died. At the time, we said production was scheduled to begin in fall 2014, with Oculus’ Mike Flanagan set to direct. Obviously, that was far too streamlined a narrative for a Stephen King movie (or a King novel, for that matter), which typically enjoys years of luxuriating in development purgatory before lumbering in front of a camera.
But now that Flanagan’s home-invasion thriller Hush has enjoyed critical success on the 800-pound gorilla of streaming services, the site is apparently giving him the green light to finally bring his version of a woman slowly going bonkers while locked to a bedpost to the small screen. In a new interview with Rue Morgue, Flanagan explains that nothing helps grease the wheels of turning a bizarre time-jumping story involving BDSM and incest subplots into a film like a little Hush-style success. “All of Netflix’s numbers are proprietary, so I don’t get to look at them, but the way I’ve heard people talking, it’s been viewed an amazing number of times, and the reception has been very, very positive. Coincidentally, Stephen King watched Hush at home on Netflix and tweeted about it, which kind of blew my mind. And that got us talking about Gerald’s Game again.”
Flanagan’s struggles largely concerned the abstract nature of King’s story, which, if the whole “woman chained to a bed for the majority of the story” angle didn’t clue you in, is a bit less action-packed than, say, Die Hard. “It’s a real challenge for financiers and distributors, who say, ‘Yeah, we love your work, we love Stephen King, but this story, this particular story? We don’t know how it works,’ without reshaping it to fit a much more conventional structure, which I did not want to do,” Flanagan explains. “And Netflix, because of how well Hush has done, said, ‘We’re really interested in this, and we’d like to do it the way you want to do it.’ And that eliminated the pressure of having to test-screen the movie and define the demographic that’s going to watch it—all of that stuff that typically comes into the conversation when you’re trying to figure out how to market a film for a wide theatrical release. It just cleared the table, so that I can make the movie I want to make.”
Still no set date for production to begin or a release window, but the director seems awfully bullish, which means it should probably happen very soon—or, in the parlance of Stephen-King-adaption-time, roughly seven years and change.