George Cowan to Pen Stephen King Adaptation of The Regulators

In a Deadline article from August 10, 2022, it was reported that the next Stephen King novel to receive Hollywood treatment would be one that the author wrote under a different name. The film adaptation of The Regulators is in development at Bohemia Group. George Cowan, who conducted early research on the Manhattan Project and was given the Enrico Fermi Award for “a lifetime of exceptional achievement in the development and use of energy,” has been hired to adapt the novel (although treat this as a rumor because Deadline was unclear about which George Cowan is writing the screenplay).

The Regulators was originally published in 1996 under King’s pen name, Richard Bachman. By the mid-90s, the fact that Bachman was a pseudonym for King was already common knowledge, and The Regulators was published concurrently with Desperation.

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The two stories share some common elements, such as the antagonist, an ancient demonic entity named Tak, and the characters who make up the cast. However, both stories are set in different locations, and while the characters may share some traits with their counterparts in the other novel, there can be some serious differences, as well. It’s almost as though it’s the pair of novels that share a common source idea but were each written by a writer from two different levels of the Tower – say true and say thankya.

In Desperation, the protagonists “go on a journey”: they are brought together as they each encounter a Sheriff in the Nevada desert who has been possessed by Tak. In the 2006 television adaptation, directed by Mick Garris (director of the 1994 miniseries adaptation of The Stand), the Tak-possessed cop was played by Ron Perlman.

By contrast, The Regulators see the protagonists facing a different type of conflict. In this story, Tak plays the role of the “stranger” that “comes to town.” After possessing an autistic child, Tak brings the boy’s western-themed action figures to life in a ghoulish, violent fashion, and these eponymous regulators lay siege to the previously quiet suburban Ohio street that the protagonists call home.

According to a quote given to Deadline, Bohemia Group’s CEO Susan Ferris is excited about working with King and his team on the project: “The novel’s themes and characters resonate so powerfully, and we are looking forward to making an incredible film.”

Richard Bachman’s The Running Man Was Adapted in 1987

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The Regulators won’t be the first Bachman novel to be adapted. In 1987, Bachman’s novel The Running Man was adapted to the big screen by director Paul Michael Glaser. King insisted that only Bachman’s name appear in the credits for The Running Man adaptation.

And The Regulators wasn’t the final book to be published under the Bachman pseudonym, either: in 2007, Blaze, another “found Bachman book,” was released (replete with an introduction by King). And in 2010, King appeared onscreen as Richard Bachman on the FX series Sons of Anarchy.