How Needful Things needs to be remade…
In the early 90's Stephen King had plenty of amazing pieces of work under his belt both in Novel and film form. (Carrie, Salem's Lot, The Shinning, Cujo, Christine, The Dead Zone, Cat's Eye, Maximum Overdrive, Stand By Me, Creepshow, Creepshow 2, Pet Sematary, IT, Misery, Graveyard Shift, The Dark Half, and Sleepwalkers just to name a few. The world's biggest horror writer, King was a master of his trade and people from all over were fighting to adapt his bone chilling novels onto the silver screen. Dozens of his works were turned into classic films or mini series. Beginning a new decade, King was battling his own inner demons, as well as continuing new pieces of of work. One of his greatest books from the 90's was his final chapter in his Castle Rock series. This of course being Needful Things.
Needful Things was a giant epic that tells the story of the small town of Castle Rock Maine, and how one day a mysterious new business opens downtown. It's a small antique shop run by Mr. Gaunt, a man who is charming and more mysterious than how his business actually came to be. Very little is known about this man, but just over the course of a few days a series of people who live in Castle Rock visit the shop and discover magical objects that make their most wildest dreams, or inner needs become a realty. Sadly they buy these items for a cost. First they need to play a "prank" on somebody who also lives in town that Gaunt has chosen, the second later of course is their soul. These "pranks" set off a deadly chain reaction around town causing it to destroy itself from the inside out.
Being one of my all time favorite Stephen King novels, this is the one book I would recommend to anyone. King's brilliant writing of linking everyone in this town is mind blowing as well as the explosive build up that begins with page one. This was one of the few books i was completely hooked on reading and honestly couldn't put it down until I finished.
The film adaptation sadly didn't live up to how amazing the book was. With an all star cast, one would think this Ed Harris supernatural thriller would totally rock. Sadly this wasn't the case, and this very lackluster film failed to impress me. There aren't always going to be a finished product that is just as amazing as the book, but coming from the source material, I found this being a huge wasted opportunity.
So let's pretend they decide one day to green lit a reboot/remake of Needful Things. What would we want to see?
1) Make it a mini series.
- I always felt certain pieces of King's work are so epic that the mini series route works best. In fact some of his most memorial pieces of work have been made for the smaller screen. He's come a long way since his IT and The Stand days where as truly awesome these series were, they never fully grasped the mood or potential the books did. I'm not saying the later have, but Riding The Bullet was amazing as good as Desperation was and I'm still praying for one based off The Regulators, I feel this piece of work along with IT should be a mini series for HBO. In fact I feel this network might be the only one maybe along with Showtime that could pull this off. You have this amazing story with rich characters, and it's seriously all plot driven. At this place in time, I could see this being done the right way with a strong director, and it being split into three different episodes, maybe released around Halloween.
2) Cast Mads Mikkelsen as Gaunt.
- As amazing as Max von Sydow was in this, he wasn't exactly who I had in mind while reading this novel. I can only begin to think of how frustrating it is for King whenever he has certain actors in mind for these great characters he writes and ends up having the role completely changed by how's playing them. If Needful Things was made today I would have the ever so creepy, handsome, and smooth Mads Mikkelsen play Gaunt. First off I think Mads could capture how charming Gaunt seems at first and slowly sinister as time goes on.
3) Stick with the book, be completely brutal and don't hold back.
- One thing that drove me up the wall was how much they cut out from the book. Now I understand, feature films can only be so long. Still, even if the version I've seen isn't the full director's cut I really got pissed off by how the whole Brian Rusk thing was a copout. Sure the content is disturbing, but this really would have shown some balls if they went this route. Same with the epic battle between the two women in the beginning. A mini series, allows more subplots to happen, which I think would really work for this story. Show more of the characters, and be completely brutal. I would love to see Kiefer Sutherland come back as his character from Stand by Me, and how the beyond killer showdown at the end. Really show how quickly Castle Rock falls apart.
4) Cast a stronger Pangborn.
- This might be odd casting but either Jeffery Dean Morgan or John Hamm I think would make a great Sheriff Pangborn. This is a story that needs strong leads, and I would of loved to see the background of Allan's family shown which makes his storyline even more tragic.
5) Keep the Elvis storyline.
- This might sound insane but my two favorite objects from the entire book were the Elvis sunglasses and photograph. Sure in the book they were used for a little "something" else for two Castle Rock women, but I think it would be a complete riot to show this magic being down and really set the tone for this mini series.
So until then, let's keep our fingers crossed and see if any of this will actually happen!