Stephen King's Supernatural Crime Story JOYLAND is Being Adapted Into a TV Series
Another Stephen King project is going into development! Freeform is set to produce a new series based on King’s crime novel Joyland.
Joyland is set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, and tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones, “a college student who takes a summer job at an amusement park in a North Carolina tourist town, confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child and the way both will change his life forever.”
This is a great story and Stephen King has said that it’s one of his favorites:
"I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid.”
The series is being written by Chris Peña (Jane the Virgin) and Cyrus Nowrasteh (The Stoning of Soraya M.) and they are also going to produce the series.
Karey Burke, executive vice president, Programming and Development, Freeform had this to say in a statement:
“We are honored to be working with Stephen King – a master storyteller who understands the importance of culturally embedded tales that resonate with audiences on a deeply personal level. We can’t wait for Joyland to become part of Freeform’s offerings and haunt our viewers as only Stephen can.”
I think this story will work much better as a series than a film so I’m happy to see that is the direction they are taking it. I just hope that Freeform does the story justice! If you’re intereted, here’s a more details and spoilery description of the story:
The novel is set at a North Carolina amusement park in 1973 and involves a carny who must confront the "legacy of a vicious murder and the fate of a dying child". Devin Jones, who takes a summer job at Joyland in North Carolina, is a student at the University of New Hampshire. Devin is told, during his interview by the resident fortune teller, that he will meet two children that summer. One is a girl with a red hat. The other is a boy with a dog. One of them has The Sight. After securing lodging for the summer at a rooming house and making friends with some of the other summer help, Jones finds that he has a talent for "wearing the fur", Joyland-talk for portraying Howie the Happy Hound, Joyland's mascot. He also works with and befriends one of the other longtime park employees—Lane Hardy. One day, he saves the aforementioned young girl in a red hat from choking on a park hot dog. The heroics earn him the trust and admiration of the park's owner.
Devin and his friends, Tom and Erin, learn that several years earlier a girl had been murdered in the haunted house, and her ghost still haunts the ride. Devin's friend, Tom, sees the ghost, but Devin does not and becomes interested in the murder. Erin assists him later, showing him pictures and articles, proving that this was only the latest in a string of unsolved murders, which had never been connected by the police.
At the end of the summer, Devin decides to take a year off from school and stay at the park while it is closed. He becomes close to a standoffish woman, Annie, and her sick son, Mike. Mike knows about the woman's ghost and has a dog, and Devin realizes he is the second child in the fortune teller's prediction. Devin is able to organize a private trip to Joyland for Mike; at the end of the trip, Mike's presence helps free the woman's ghost. That night, Devin loses his virginity to Annie.
Devin returns to his boarding house, which is preparing for an upcoming storm. He begins looking through the pictures again and suddenly realizes that the murderer is in fact Lane Hardy. Lane has guessed that Devin knows who he is, and so threatens to kill Annie and Mike unless Devin meets him at Joyland. Lane traps the two of them on the Ferris wheel in the middle of the storm and is about to kill Devin, when Annie shows up and fatally shoots Lane. Mike had been awakened by another ghost (of a park employee Devin had previously saved), who warned him about Lane.
Annie and Mike return to Chicago and Devin goes back to school. Mike dies later that spring.
I’ll be looking forward to seeing this story brought to life as a series.