A Completely New Kind Of Stephen King Adaptation Is Happening With This Is Us’ Milo Ventimiglia
Here in the year 2021, Stephen King fans have been enjoying (and otherwise) adaptations of his stellar (and otherwise) works for 45 years now, with Brian De Palma’s Carrie quickly setting a high bar in 1976. Since then, there have been oodles and oodles of films and TV shows and comic books bringing his words to life in other mediums. Now, constant readers are somehow getting an adaptation that hasn’t been achieved before, with one of King’s early short stories being turned into a podcast starring This Is Us‘ Milo Ventimiglia and others.
Not only will this be the first time a Stephen King story or novel will be adapted into a scripted podcast, but it’s the first ever adaptation for the story itself, “Strawberry Spring,” which was first published in a 1968 issue of Ubris magazine. The story reached the masses a decade later as part of King’s first story collection Night Shift, which spawned a multitude of adaptations from its other stories, including “Children of the Corn,” “The Mangler,” “Sometimes They Come Back,” “Graveyard Shift,” and “The Lawnmower Man.” (And let’s not forget “Trucks,” which later became the infamous Maximum Overdrive.)
With the podcast stretching the plotline out a bit to make it an episodic release, Strawberry Spring centers on a journalist who, upon being reminded of a serial killer active during his college years, falls into an obsessive hunt for this killer, dubbed “Springheel Jack.” As it goes with a story like this, the protagonist is not going to have an easy time with this investigation, and he’s not going to like everything that he discovers.
The Strawberry Spring podcast will be a co-production between acclaimed podcast studio Audio Up Media and iHeartMedia, with The Voice producer Lee Metzger and documentary producer Philip Alberstat putting things together behind the scenes. The cast is as solid as one would expect from a high-profile Stephen King adaptation, too. Beyond Milo Ventimiglia, the project will also star Mosaic‘s Garrett Hedlund, Stargirl‘s Brec Bassinger, American Gods‘ Herizen F. Gaurdiola, The White Lotus star Sydney Sweeney, Black Monday‘s Ken Marino, and Physical‘s Al Madrigal. Character information was not given in the initial announcement.
Stephen King stories have obviously been adapted as audiobooks for as long as it’s been possible to do so, and the 1999 release Blood and Smoke featured King reading three short stories that hadn’t been published in collections at the time. But this will be the first time any of King’s stories will be dramatized in episodic form as an audio drama. Audio One Media is also responsible for such popular podcasts as Missed Riffs with MTV vet Matt Pinfield, Ever After with Jaleel White, and Sorry We’re Stoned with Miley Cyrus’ mom Trish and sister Brandi. It sounds like they’ll be putting proper resources into Strawberry Spring, too, so expect for this to sound as good as a live-action iteration would.