Caleb McLaughlin’s Lucas has a hardcover of King’s and Peter Straub’s young adult fantasy collaboration “The Talisman” cracked at Max’s bedside and is reading the story to her. She’s in a coma and there’s no guarantee she can hear him, but he must know this is something she’d care about. “The Talisman” is about a young boy named Jack Sawyer who goes on a cross-country quest to save his dying mother. Travelin’ Jack has the ability to “flip” between our reality and a darker parallel reality called “The Territories.” Sounds a little bit like the Upside Down, doesn’t it?
“The Talisman” is the rare ’80s Stephen King book that has not been adapted. This is the era where everything with King’s name was getting put on the big or small screen. Novels (“The Dead Zone,” etc), novellas (“Stand By Me”https://www.slashfilm.com/”The Body”), short stories (“Children of the Corn”), and even a weird mini-novel that started life as an illustrated calendar (“Cycle of the Werewolf”https://www.slashfilm.com/”Silver Bullet”) were all being adapted, so why not this hugely cinematic Amblin-esque adventure tale?
That’s a long story, but the short version is that King and his co-writer, Peter Straub, sold the full rights to “The Talisman” to none other than Steven Spielberg. Spielberg spent years trying to crack this giant tome, enlisting screenwriters like Richard LaGravenese (“The Fisher King”), Ehren Kruger (“The Ring”), and Josh Boone (“The Stand”) to try their hand at it, but nothing stuck and the movie never happened.