Spyglass Media Group’s TV division has optioned Stephen King’s latest novel The Institute to develop as a limited series, with David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies) and Jack Bender (Lost), the same creative team behind the critically acclaimed Mr. Mercedes, also based on a King novel, attached. The announcement marks the first television acquisition for Spyglass and was made by Lauren Whitney, President of Television for Spyglass. Additionally, Spyglass has set a multi-year first look deal with Bender to develop future projects for Spyglass, overseen by Whitney.
The project marks a reunion for Kelley and Bender who have worked together on Mr. Mercedes, DirecTV’s Audience Network’s adaptation of King’s Bill Hodges Trilogy that has been renewed for a third season.
Kelley will pen the adaptation for The Institute and Bender will direct. Both will executive produce.
“The Institute” was released on Tuesday. Here is the synopsis for the book:
In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents–telekinesis and telepathy–who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”
In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.
“Having the opportunity to work on a new and brilliant book by Stephen King is an absolute privilege,” said Whitney. “We are thrilled to collaborate with this dream team, including the incomparable David E. Kelley, and Jack Bender, the architect behind this project, whose extensive directing and executive producing credits speak for themselves. After such a competitive pursuit, we have big plans for The Institute here at Spyglass.”
The Institute, on sale today, has received stellar early reviews. Publisher’s Weekly describes the novel as “the most gut-wrenching tale of kids triumphing over evil since It…”
Said King, “I’m delighted to be working with Jack and David, the creative team behind Mr. Mercedes. We think alike, and I believe The Institute is going to be a great success.”
Said Bender, “I am thrilled to be working with Spyglass Media and couldn’t be more excited that we’ll be starting with Stephen King’s extraordinary new book The Institute. Continuing to work with David Kelley only adds to the brilliance I am surrounded by.”
Said Kelley, “It’s a privilege and a joy to be able to team with Stephen and Jack again. Stephen has written yet another compelling and brilliant book. I cannot wait to jump in.”