Horror maestro Stephen King commands monster sums for the rights to many of his works, but he’s letting a group of Welsh teens option one story for just $1.
King granted the permission to students at the Blaenau Gwent Film Academy in Wales, according to Mashable.
The students will pay the miniscule fee for the right to produce a film based on King’s short story “Stationary Bike,” a 2003 tale about a man who becomes so obsessed with exercise, he loses his grip on reality.
“We knew already that Stephen King was excellent at supporting education establishments,” Kevin Phillips, a tutor for the students, told Mashable. “(Then) we came across this website where, actually, he releases many of his short stories for adaption, you know, nonprofit, of course.”
The website is the Dollar Babies section of StephenKing.com. It lists works from the prolific purveyor of all things spooky that are not currently under any contract for a for-profit project.
That means they’re available for film students who want to make something they could later promote and enter into film festivals without fear of copyright infringement.
“If you want to be one of my dollar babies, send us your info,” King says on the site.
“We pretty much emailed his secretary, Margaret, and she came back to us in 24 hours, and we told her what we wanted to do, that it’s not for profit, that our students would be making it, and she sent us a contract through which was signed by Stephen King himself,” Phillips told Mashable.
King has written hundreds of stories over his lengthy career and seen scores turned into screen adaptations.
The 2017 adaptation of his horror story “It” grossed more than $700 million worldwide on a budget of only $35 million.
King previously granted the rights for “The Woman in the Room” to writer and director Frank Darabont for a 1983 short film.
Darabont went on to write and direct the critically acclaimed 1994 drama “Shawshank Redemption,” also a King adaptation, and co-create the wildly successful AMC horror show “The Walking Dead.”
For “Stationary Bike,” students Alfie Evans, 16, and Cerys Cliff, 14, reportedly will adapt the story into a script.
Ultimately, about 30 students will work on making the finished film, Phillips said.
He claimed King asked for a copy of the finished product.
“They insist that we send him a copy,” Phillips told Mashable. “That was part of the contract — Stephen always loves to see the work and please send him a DVD when it’s all complete.”
Phillips said he hopes the project will help launch the careers of his students.
“The main thing is that it’ll be used to boost the confidence of our young, up-and-coming filmmakers to actually say that they’ve worked on a Stephen King film,” he said.