In an intriguing turn of events, Cedar Park Entertainment – headed up by David Ayer and Chris Long – has obtained the rights to Stephen King’s The Bone Church, with a plan to turn it into a television series. The reason this is intriguing is that – far from being a giant, complex tome – The Bone Church is a poem that’s less than 20 stanzas in length.
It was first published in 2009 in Playboy, after the author revised it from an early draft he wrote during the 1960s. It was then re-issued in 2015, as part of the Stephen King anthology collection, The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams. It’s a narrative piece that eschews poetic convention in favour of a non-standardized format, and is essentially a depiction of a man sitting in a bar, revealing a story to his fellow patrons in exchange for drinks.
The story this narrator tells is one of an adventure gone awry, as he describes a large team of people heading off into a jungle to find the titular Bone Church. What awaits the team is beyond anything they could have imagined, and only a very small number survive (including the narrator). Those survivors experience extreme darkness and a mystical fate – as fans have come to expect from the prolific writer of the macabre.
So, David Ayer and Chris Long intend to take this short tale and expand it into an episodic show for the small screen – which makes for an exciting prospect. It allows for writers to dig into the detail and connective tissue of what’s a finely crafted narrative, while weaving some magic of their own. Whether King himself will be involved in that writing process remains to be seen, but The Bone Church will be a return to the world of Stephen King for Chris Long, who previously worked as executive producer on the series adaptation, Mr. Mercedes.