Exclusive: Stephen King’s ‘The Talisman’ Lands ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Director Mike Barker
With Pet Sematary set to close SXSW, It: Chapter 2 and Doctor Sleep in post-production at Warner Bros., and The Outsider in production at HBO, it’s clear Hollywood is as enamored as ever with the work of Stephen King — and now there’s movement on another noteworthy adaptation. Collider has exclusively learned that Mike Barker, who has directed numerous episodes of Hulu’s Emmy-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale, is set to direct a big-screen adaptation of King and Peter Straub‘s bestselling 1984 fantasy novel The Talisman for Steven Spielberg‘s Amblin Partners and The Kennedy/Marshall Company.
The Talisman follows Jack Sawyer, a young boy in possession of a powerful talisman that can save his mother’s life, who is forced to go on the run from the inhabitants of a magical parallel universe who have discovered how to travel between worlds.
Frank Marshall will produce on behalf of Kennedy/Marshall, while former Amblin CEO Michael Wright will serve as an executive producer on The Talisman, which will be adapted by veteran genre scribe Chris Sparling (Buried).
In 2001, King and Straub released a Talisman sequel titled Black House that follows a now-adult Jack as a retired Los Angeles homicide detective trying to solve a series of murders in a small Wisconsin town.
Barker is a veteran TV director whose credits include Fargo, Outlander and Broadchurch as well as the TV movie Moby Dick starring Ethan Hawke and William Hurt. On the feature side, he also directed the 1999 indie Best Laid Plans starring Reese Witherspoon and Josh Brolin, the 2004 drama A Good Woman starring Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson, and the 2007 kidnapping thriller Shattered starring Pierce Brosnan and Gerard Butler.
Even with all those credits, The Talisman would be a major step up for Barker (at least in terms of budget) should it ever come to fruition. He’s represented by CAA and Independent Talent Group, while Sparling is repped by UTA, Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment and Lichter, Grossman, Nichols.