Behind-The-Scenes Details From Stephen King Adaptations That Have Us Screaming For More

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Vote up the coolest stories from the sets of your favorite Stephen King films.

Just as Stephen King's books leave readers white-knuckling their armrests, the movie adaptations of King’s novels are gripping in their own way - especially, as it turns out, for those involved with their production. From drug mishaps to tying down dog tails, King’s stories can certainly demand a lot out of a cast and crew.

With at least 86 movies based on King’s novels, there have been plenty of opportunities over the years for some surprising and questionable occurrences, either during production or after. Some stories even involve the King of horror himself.


  • 1
    238 VOTES

    Michael Clarke Duncan Got His Role In ‘The Green Mile’ In Part Thanks To Bruce Willis

    For ex-bodyguard/aspiring actor Michael Clarke Duncan, getting the part of John Coffey in the 1999 film adaptation of The Green Mile changed his life and career. The role landed him a nomination for the Academy Award for best supporting actor and a Golden Globe nomination for best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture. Duncan had a special friend to thank in part for landing his breakout role: Bruce Willis.

    It was Willis who told Duncan about the part, offering to contact the writer and director Frank Darabont about the role for him, claiming Duncan was on his own after that. He even jokingly said, “Please don’t embarrass me - this is my recommendation.” Duncan quipped back he wouldn’t embarrass him and to “just make the call.” Darabont called Duncan a week later, then Duncan auditioned, and the life-changing role was his. For the intensity and deep emotion Duncan brought to the role, anyone else in the role now seems unthinkable.

    238 votes
  • 2
    196 VOTES

    Stephen King Was Genuinely Surprised By The End Of 'Misery'

    Misery takes the flattery of an author’s “No. 1 fan” and dials it up to 11. By killing off a beloved character, author Paul Sheldon finds himself imprisoned, tormented, and nearly killed by crazed fan Annie Wilkes. The film adaptation is actually the only film based on a Stephen King novel that’s won an Oscar - King himself has even stated that it's in his top 10 favorite film adaptations of his own work.

    In fact, it was so gripping, King himself got riled up during a viewing. Actor James Caan, who played the tormented author, recalled:

    We had the screening in Westwood, and he was sitting in the back with Rob. He really never came to any of his movies. He didn’t like his movies. He got so into it that… when she comes in at the end, with the tray, it’s dead quiet… and you hear, “Watch out. She’s got a gun!” And it was Stephen.

    This exclamation was truly the ultimate seal of approval in Caan’s eyes.

    196 votes
  • 3
    148 VOTES

    Courtney Gains Won The Role Of Malachai In ‘Children of the Corn’ With An Unconventional Audition

    In the acting world, standing out in an audition can be difficult, even if you're the next A-lister in the making. A young Courtney Gains knew this when he auditioned for the film adaptation of Children of the Corn, and he had a plan to get noticed.

    Brought in by casting director Linda Francis, who had taken a liking to his work, Gains pulled a fake knife on the person he was reading with, Jeff Goldberg, who is now a big casting director as well. Goldberg has said he tells the story as an example of what not to do in a casting session, and while Gains agrees, he undeniably left quite an impression. 

    Gains was prepared to do whatever it took to prove he belonged in Hollywood, and while his plan easily could have gone south, he did ultimately win the role of the treacherous Malachai Boardman.

    148 votes
  • 4
    198 VOTES

    Tim Curry Kept His Distance From The Kids In The ‘It’ Miniseries So They’d Be More Afraid Of Him

    Tim Curry Kept His Distance From The Kids In The ‘It’ Miniseries So They’d Be More Afraid Of Him
    Photo: ABC

    While young actors are certainly capable of keeping up with their adult counterparts, there’s something to be said for incorporating a bit of method acting into a project. Or at least that seemed to be a successful tactic for Tim Curry, who played the monstrous Pennywise in Stephen King’s 1990 miniseries adaptation of It.

    Emily Perkins, who portrayed young Beverly Marsh, had quite a memorable impression of what it was like working with Curry on set, recalling he would chain-smoke while sitting in his chair for makeup and grin maniacally with his horrifying pointed teeth anytime the child actors got too close. This was all in an effort to intimidate the kids so their fear would be real while performing. It’s truly a testament to Curry’s abilities when considering he and the production team relied primarily on makeup rather than prosthetics.

    198 votes
  • 5
    166 VOTES

    While Shooting ‘Stand By Me,’ Jerry O’Connell Tied Up His Babysitter And Escaped The Set

    When Jerry O’Connell, who played Vern in Stand By Me, heard a hippie fair was taking place nearby during filming in Eugene, OR, his young ears seemingly only heard the “fair” part. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Kiefer Sutherland revealed the fateful story of O’Connell’s unfortunate run-in with a “special” cookie.

    According to what Sutherland heard, O’Connell managed to tie his babysitter to the banister and sneak out to attend this fair. He bought some cookies, not realizing they contained cannabis, and clearly ate far too many. The 13-year-old O’Connell was later found in a nearby park crying and disoriented, causing production to shut down for two days while he recovered.

    166 votes
  • 6
    120 VOTES

    ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ Was Filmed At A 100-Year-Old Prison With A Creepy Nickname

    In many ways, the prison is as much a character in The Shawshank Redemption as Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. With its intimidating, gothic appearance, the Ohio State Reformatory is a symbol of a time when prisons were designed with unique architecture meant to “reform” and rehabilitate by helping inmates be reborn back into their spiritual lives. 

    The Ohio State Reformatory was originally called the “Intermediate Penitentiary” because it accepted inmates who were too old for juvenile corrections but whose offenses were more minor than those sent to the Ohio State Penitentiary. Unfortunately, over the years, its reputation diminished with overcrowding, violence, and disease, earning it the nickname “Dracula’s Castle.” 

    With such a macabre moniker, it's undoubtedly a well-deserved setting for a Stephen King film adaptation.

    120 votes