King of the Genre

Talk about scary: After more than a dozen Stephen King screen adaptations, at least five more are threatening to happen, including what may be one of TV's most expensive four-hour miniseries.

The $12-million "It" begins production in late May for Green-Epstein Prods. and ABC. Based on King's 1986 novel, it's about seven former childhood friends who reunite to destroy a monster that's due to resurface--literally--from beneath the streets of their old hometown. Once tormenting them in the form of a clown, it can now manifest itself in other forms--including each individual's personal nightmare.

Tim Reid is already cast, and negotiations are being completed with Richard Thomas and John Ritter. Tommy Lee Wallace ("Halloween III") will direct from Lawrence D. Cohen's script.

Shooting or in development:

* "Misery," a psychological thriller based on King's 1987 tome, directed by Rob Reiner, currently shooting in L.A. (Reiner filmed "Stand by Me," based on a King novella, in 1986.) James Caan and Kathy Bates star in the story of an injured novelist first cared for, then held prisoner by his No. 1 fan. William Goldman wrote the script. Lauren Bacall, Richard Farnsworth and Frances Sternhagen co-star, for Columbia.

* "Graveyard Shift"--about humongous rats in a woolen mill--begins filming in Maine in late June. Larry Sugar's Sugar Ent. Inc. packaged the $10.5-million project, based on a short story from King's 1978 "Night Shift" short-story collection.

* "Thinner," based on King's 1984 book written under his Richard Bachman pseudonym, is being developed by King and Richard Rubinstein, president and CEO of Lauren Ent. Michael McDowell ("Beetlejuice") is writing the script.

* "The Stand" (1978)--King's epic of the Apocalypse--is also with Laurel Ent. and Warner Bros. Rewrites are underway and directors are being considered. An unexpurgated 1,150-page version of "The Stand" is due for publication late this month.

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