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Stephen King lets teenage film students adapt his story for $1

The UK students have acquired the supernatural writer’s 2003 short story ‘Stationary Bike’

There’s at least 73 films based on the works of legendary author Stephen King, as well as a smattering of recent TV series, anthology works and short films, and more upcoming flicks like Pet Sematary. The most recent project that’s come to light though is a bit different, as two teenage film students based in Wales are set to adapt one of the prolific writer’s short stories.

Stephen King has been selling students the rights to his short stories for $1 since the 70s, as Uproxx reports. ‘The Stationary Bike’ is the latest in his ‘Dollar Babies’ project – the short story has been sold to a 16-year-old and 14-year-old from Blaenau Gwent Film Academy in Wales.

‘Stationary Bike’ was first published in 2003 in From the Boardlands, and appeared in the 2008 collection Just After Sunset. It follows an artist and widower on a mission to lose weight as the threat of high cholesterol looms. He becomes obsessed with riding his bike in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, to the point he begins to have sinister hallucinations. 

Students wrote directly to King to get permission to use the story. 16-year-old Alfie Evans and 14-year-old Cerys Cliff will write the script, and around 30 students will work on the production. 

“Being given an opportunity to bring one of Stephen King’s novels to life is crazy,” Evans told the BBC.

As part of the $1 agreement, the film can’t have a commercial release. However, King asks that he receive DVD copies of the finished film. Around 10 are known to have been made between 1977 and 1996.

The students will be in good company on the Dollar Babies project – Frank Darabont made The Woman in the Room, and later went on to direct the Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile off the back of it. Hopefully the Welsh students can gain Darabont level of approval from King, as opposed to the negative opinion he held for Kubrick’s The Shining adaptation.