How Stephen King Got The Boogeyman Cast Through Tough Days On Set

03June2024

Stephen King movies have been a thing for nearly as long as the man has been writing best-selling novels. From "Carrie" the first feature film based on one of King's works, to the recent ill-fated remake of "Children of the Corn," these adaptations have run the gamut. King doesn't always throw his weight behind the projects and he famously was not a fan of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." But when King is a fan of a movie based on his work, he's happy to say so. That was the case with 2023's "The Boogeyman," a movie King vocally got behind. It turns out, the author's praise actually helped the cast and crew during production

Director Rob Savage spoke with Entertainment Weekly ahead of the release of "The Boogeyman" last year and explained initially how he came to the project. Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, of "A Quiet Place" fame, wrote the first screenplay for the film, which is based on King's short story that was part of the "Night Shift" collection published in 1978. As Savage explained, they found a brilliant way to turn the short into a feature.

"The script, which was a draft by Beck and Woods, found this ingenious way of adapting the short story, which I remember really messing me up as a kid, but it's just two people in a therapy session, and there's a twist reveal at the end. Beck and Woods had the genius idea of using that almost as the inciting incident for a larger feature. They said the movie is like an adaptation of the short story and a sequel, all within one movie. I was like, 'Oh, there's a real opportunity here.'"

By using the short story as the beginning of a larger narrative, "The Boogeyman" was turned into an effective feature-length narrative. That's important to understand when it comes to King's role in the film itself, both during production and after it was in the can.

Stephen King's love for The Boogeyman rang true

Savage explained that King eventually read a revised version of the script that had input from "Black Swan" screenwriter Mark Heyman. That's the draft the author fell in love with, and he was very vocal about loving it. It was that vocal love that helped Savage, along with the rest of the cast and crew, soldier through production.

He read Mark's draft of the script and loved it. He was doing a press tour [for] his new book, and every now and then he'd mention how much he loved the script for 'The Boogeyman.' We'd have a particularly hard day, and I'd get pinged on my phone that Stephen King had shouted about our script. I'd read that out to our crew, and it would give us a second wind to finish the week."

King's love for the finished film also helped an awful lot. They rented out King's favorite theater in Maine to screen the finished product for him. "He went there with a bucket of popcorn, and he said the film was expletive-terrifying and it made him jump several times. It was a real relief," Savage said. The author's praise for "The Boogeyman" even helped secure a theatrical release, coupled with excellent reactions from test audiences, rather than being dumped directly to Hulu.

The studio's faith was rewarded. The film went on to earn a healthy $82.3 million at the global box office, turning it into a decent little horror hit. It's a heck of a lot more than it would have made from Hulu alone. King's kind words had a pretty large impact on this one.

"The Boogeyman" is now streaming on Hulu

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