While it’s true that more than 90 Stephen King films and television adaptations have been produced and released since the mid-1970s, the wild additional truth is that not every King book has been processed live. Some projects have been announced, but they can’t get out of the development hell, and other works don’t even go that far. One novel that fits into this category is 1995’s Pink Madder—and the author seems to consider it a shame, as he thinks it could be the source material for a “great movie.”
After the latest film adaptation of Stephen King’s “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone”, released on Netflix last week, the author gave an interview to Tudum (opens in new tab) and asked about his books that were not selected. He called the aforementioned “Pink Madder” and added that he sees in it a novel that may have potential if it is brought to the big screen. Said the King,
I don’t think anyone has ever chosen Rose Madder, which I thought could make a great movie.
Stephen King made a little mistake in his memoirs here, since HBO chose the book back in 1996, and decades later Assaf Bernstein tried to develop a film version, but there is a more important point here: “Rose Madder” has not yet been filmed. , and the author believes that Hollywood misses a lot.
The book centers on Rosie Daniels, who, after 14 years of abusive relationships, decides to run away from her cop husband. She’s going to the Midwest hoping to start a new life for herself, and she’s doing it… but in a very unexpected way. When she pawns her wedding ring, she exchanges it for a painting depicting a woman in a pink madder dress, and eventually discovers that it acts as a magical portal.
Admittedly, Stephen King wasn’t always the kindest to Rose Maren as part of his bibliography. He writes about the novel in his must-read popular science book About Writing(opens in new tab) (which was released in 2000, that is, five years later), and he believes that this is a story-based work that doesn’t quite work. :
I’ve been writing story novels, but the results in books like Insomnia and Pink Madder haven’t been particularly inspiring. These are (as much as I hate to admit it) tough novels that require too much effort.
Of course, it is quite possible that Stephen King’s view of Rose Madder has changed in the 22 years since the publication of “About Writing”. After further reflection, perhaps his criticism has softened.
His quote sounds like he thinks that the film “Pink Madder” will never be released, but there are many historical facts that say that he should not lose hope. Twenty-seven years, admittedly, is a long time between the publication of a book and its adaptation, but sometimes something turns out in the end. For example, Mike Flanagan shot “Gerald’s Game” 25 years after the novel of the same name appeared on store shelves, and now this Netflix original is considered one of the best Stephen King films of all time.
We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds for Rose Maren on the big screen. In the meantime, you can follow all the projects that are in active development with the help of our guide “Upcoming films and TV Series by Stephen King” and look back at the long history of adaptations with the help of my weekly column “Adaptation of Stephen King”.