TV and streaming service suits love pitches from creative types bearing books, because they “love holding something that exists that you are going to translate…It makes them feel secure,” AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes director and executive producer Jack Bender told TV critics at TCA.
Facebook’s Sacred Lies exec producer Raelle agreed, during the books-to-TV panel. “I had a road map and such a fleshed out character,” she said. That enabled her to go into a pitch meeting saying, “‘Here is the arc of this character’ with such specificity. It’s a gift, being given material from such a great writer.”
It’s understandable perhaps, given the number of non-book-based series over recent years that seemed to start going off the rails in Season 2.
Bender acknowledged he was fortunate in that Stephen King wrote the book series from which Mr. Mercedes is taken earlier in his career, and has been mostly complimentary about the adaptation, though he is “very honest when he doesn’t like things.”
King famously loathed what is arguably the most highly acclaimed horror movie based on one of his books, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Among his complaints, King said the movie is “misogynistic”; that his Jack character, played by Jack Nicholson in the movie, was not supposed to be crazy from the outset; and that “Shelley Duvall as Wendy is really one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film; she’s basically just there to scream and be stupid and that’s not the woman that I wrote about.”
Asked what is the most difficult part of their job, AMC’s Lodge 49 author Jim Gavin won the Best Answer of TCA Summer 2018, even though we are only a few days in to the semi-annual event, responding, “I worked selling plumbing parts. This is all gravy.”