Students in Wales have been left pinching themselves, after buying the film rights to one of Stephen King’s short stories for less than a pound.
Blaenau Gwent Film Academy recently signed the dollar contract to adapt Mr King’s Stationary Bike, a story featured in the writer’s collection Just After Sunset.
Turns out King, who is widely regarded as the greatest horror writer of all time, has a section on his official website titled ‘Dollar Babies‘. This allows stories not already under contract to be purchased by film students.
“We pretty much emailed his secretary, Margaret, and she came back to us in 24 hours, and we told her what we wanted to do, that it’s not for profit, that our students would be making it, and she sent us a contract through which was signed by Stephen King himself,” Kevin Phillips, a tutor at the academy, told Mashable.
As part of the contract, students won’t be able to make any profit from the movie, though the academy is hoping to have it screened at festivals, which would be fantastic exposure for a group of young kids trying to build a career in the industry.
There’s one other catch in the contract. That Stephen King must be sent a finished copy of the film. Which is probably about as daunting as it gets.
The snynopsis for Stationary Bike reads:
“After being told by his doctor that his cholesterol level is too high, Richard Sefkitz begins riding a stationary bike in the basement of his apartment building. To help alleviate the boredom, he buys maps and plots a route from New York to Herkimer, a town on the U.S./Canadian border, each day marking the amount of miles he has “ridden” towards his goal.
He also paints a scene of a road on the blank wall in front of the bike to help him imagine actually traveling the road. As he nears Herkimer (according to the miles plotted on his map, at least) and has gotten in great shape physically, he begins having strange thoughts that there is someone following him on his daily rides.”
One notable film-maker to have taken advantage of Mr King’s generosity is Frank Darabont, director of the acclaimed Shawshank Redemption. He bought the rights to The Woman in the Room on a “Dollar Baby” contract in 1986, aged 20.