Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B has optioned feature rights to The Jaunt, a 1981 Stephen King short story about a futuristic method of teleportation. Andy and Barbara Muschietti, the duo behind 2013 frightener Mama (he directed, she produced and both collaborated on the screenplay), have been tapped to develop, with Andy directing.
King’s story was first published in Twilight Zone Magazine but only garnered acclaim when it was included in the author’s 1985 short-story collection, Skeleton Crew. Set in the 24th century, the story revolves around ‘jaunting,’ a method of teleportation in which the individual is put under anesthesia during their travels, lest the process cause their mind to implode from experiencing time standing still. One father, preparing his family for a trip to Mars, recounts the controversial and chilling history of jaunting.
No studio has been set to handle The Jaunt, but Plan B’s first-look deal with New Regency and RatPac Entertaiment suggests it won’t be difficult to find the film a home. The company will work fast to pull in a writer and develop the project – King famously grants a 90-day option period for just $1, provided that a scribe is secured and the film company takes serious steps to push the project through early stages.
The Jaunt is just the latest King adaptation to enter development; the author has been hotter than possibly ever in the past few years. On the small screen, James Franco is set to star in Hulu’s adaptation of his JFK assassination tome 11/22/63, with J.J. Abrams producing; TNT is developing Joyland; Mr. Mercedes is being handled by a crack team of producers including Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey; and Under the Dome is currently a series at CBS, which is also working on an adaptation of The Things They Left Behind. Meanwhile, as far as feature films are concerned, Tod Williams’ Cell adaptation, starring John Cusack, arrives later this year, and Cary Fukunaga’s two-part IT bows next year.