Teens Get Rights to Stephen King Story for $1

It's part of the horror author's 'Dollar Baby' program
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2018 4:06 PM CDT
PEN literary service award recipient Stephen King attends the 2018 PEN Literary Gala at the American Museum of Natural History on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – It would typically be pretty expensive to option a Stephen King story. But students at the Blaenau Gwent Film Academy in Wales, UK, just optioned one for a single dollar. Alfie Evans, 16, and Cerys Cliff, 14, are adapting "Stationary Bike," from King's collection Just After Sunset, into a script, and then about 30 students will make it into a film. A tutor at the school explains to Mashable that they found out about the "Dollar Babies" section of King's website, where the iconic horror author lists short stories of his that are not under contract and offers "film students who want to try their hands at a Stephen King story" the opportunity to request the rights to one for just $1. He's been doing it since the 1970s, and it's worth noting that Frank Darabont, who went on to direct The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, optioned one of them back in 1983 and made it into a film.

"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," the tutor says. Forms were filled out and mailed back, the dollar was paid, and within a few days, the Academy had the rights to the story. The students are hoping to complete their film by March or April—at which point "they insist that we send him a copy," the tutor says. "That was part of the contract—Stephen always loves to see the work and please send him a DVD when it's all complete." They will also be submitting the short to film festivals. "Being given an opportunity to bring one of Stephen King's novels to life is crazy," Evans tells the BBC. (Go inside Stephen King's writing-obsessed family.)

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