Stephen King’s Cell Gets a Director, John Cusack to Star

It’s a pretty good year to be a Stephen King fan what with the Under the Dome series set to premiere this summer, the Carrie remake heading to theatres in October, and Stephen King’s own follow-up to The Shining to be published this fall. Now it looks like an adaptation of another one of his books is heading into production fairly soon, and it’s one that has been in development for the better part of a decade. Back in 2006, there was a lot of interest in bringing the novel Cell to the big screen and Eli Roth was attached to direct. Creative differences forced him to walk away from the project, but now it appears that a new director has been found along with a big name star. Will this be something more than just another generic zombie flick?

According to Screen Daily, Paranormal Activity 2 director Tod “Kip” Williams has signed on to direct Cell from a script written by Adam Alleca (The Last House on the Left) and Stephen King himself. John Cusack is attached to star as Clayton Riddell, a struggling artist who sets off to find his wife and son after a mysterious signal is sent out across mobile phone networks and turns humans into vicious animals. The project is being produced by Richard Saperstein, former president of Dimension Films, who also oversaw adaptations of 1408 and The Mist.

In my mind, Kip Williams is a bit of a step down from Eli Roth, but at least he has experience in the genre. Cusack seems like an interesting choice to star, especially since the project had previously been compared to a Roland Emmerich version of a zombie movie. Although I haven’t read the book, I am intrigued by the concept and hope it improves a bit on the similarly-themed horror flick The Signal. Production is expected to start this May. Are you looking forward to a Cell movie?

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  • Cory

    The concept of the book is great. The first 2/3 of the book are really intriguing and I liked. I don’t think King knew how to finish this story, because I personally thought the ending wasn’t as build up, but more of a cool down, and although the actual last thing that happens in the book is touching and leaves you wondering (in a good way) its that last third of the book that gets you there that isn’t his best work in my opinion. It’ll be interesting to see how close to the novel they stay.

  • I believe King has said that he wasn’t totally happy with the end of the book and they changed it up for the movie. Not sure of the details, but I guess maybe that’s a good thing?

  • Lior

    The book is pretty epic. Not on the same level as The Stand is, but not that far. The premise is fantastic. But I wonder if the subtleties of the book will be lost in a generic zombie film that we’ve seen too many times before.

    Cusack is a good choice – he also appeared in 1408 which is one of the best King adaptations ever made.

  • I just wanna see The Dark Tower already.

  • bullet3

    Like most of King’s work over the last 30 years, it has an outstanding opening, slowly peters out at the halfway point, and a really shitty ending.

    If they’ve gone and changed it up in the screenplay it could be quite good, but considering how tired everyone is of zombies at this point, I just think this is too late. I suspect World War Z is going to come out, flop horribly, and this project will subsequently get cancelled.

  • Lior

    It’s very hard to adapt King because his stories, despite their reputation of being gruseome, are very internal. It’s the internal conflict of the characters that make them work.

    And speaking about “petering out”, let’s admit it, The Dark Tower series is a mess. The first novel is almost amaturish, the second one is amazing, the third is overlong, the fourth is fatntastic and very original, five and six are just okay with a beat of meta thrown in, and the final one is just a culmination of all of these. Some of it is brilliant some of it is incoherent. But it was a hit. Why? Nobody has King’s imagination in these genres, and Filmmakers have been struggling to recapture that for years. In lesser hands Cell will be just another zombie film.

  • Lior

    Oh, Dark Tower was also a hit because it’s like the nexus of the King-universe, tying many of his works. I don’t recall if Cell is one of them, though.

  • Mike H

    This will definitely be the year of the KING, Cell will be a great flick with John Cusack, this will be his third King flick (1408 and Stand By Me).

  • Stinker

    Cusack has in most cases a good sense for a good movie, so lets hope. The Book itself is a better one (for a new King) and is a very good basis for a movie. Could be a fun movie, and lets hope nokia well get onboard as sponsor.