'We went in fearlessly': Stephen King on adapting 'A Good Marriage' for film

What would you do if you found out a beloved family member was responsible for an unspeakable series of crimes? That’s the hook of the director Peter Askin’s new horror-thriller A Good Marriage, an adaptation of the Stephen King novella, which arrives in cinemas and on VOD Oct. 3.

A Good Marriage stars Joan Allen, Anthony LaPaglia, Stephen Lang, and House of Cards actress Kristen Connolly and was adapted for the big screen by King himself. “I knew Peter Askin and I liked him,” says King, explaining the origin of the project. “About a thousand years ago, John Mellencamp and I got involved with this musical called Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. We didn’t know anything about musicals and Peter, who has directed Hedwig and the Angry Inch, came on board for the workshop. I bonded with him and at some point I said, ‘Would you like to do a movie with me?’ I had something in mind. So we worked on it and finally we both knew [we had something]. We went in fearlessly and this is what we came up with.”

The prolific novelist and short-story writer says he chose to adapt this particular tale partly because of its film-appropriate length. “I’ve seen enough movies adapted from my work to know that the things that work the best are the things that aren’t too long and aren’t too short,” he explains. “Some of the stories, when they get expanded, they go in the wrong direction, and with the novels, if they’re really expansive, a lot of times it’s like sitting around a suitcase and trying to get everything in. A Good Marriage is about 100 pages long, about as long as Shawshank, or The Body, which became Stand By Me. And I liked it because it was from the woman’s point of view. I think that’s why Joan Allen got involved. She saw it as a feminist story, with a woman who wasn’t going to just become a scream machine.”

Alas, King reveals that fans holding their breath for another onscreen cameo from Uncle Stevie will be doing so for a while longer. “I was going to go up and visit the set and maybe play the minister in the scene where he gives a benediction,” laughs the writer. “Then Peter Askin gave me a call and said, ‘Joan doesn’t want to see anyone today because she has to work herself up to do this, and she would prefer if you stay away.’ So I did. We stayed in contact through the whole time of the shoot but I was never on set. And you know what? The director loves that.”

You can exclusively check out the poster for A Good Marriage above.

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