Mike Flanagan's The Life Of Chuck: What We Know About The Stephen King Adaptation

Some of the greatest Stephen King movies of all time are based on the author’s novellas. The classic coming-of-age drama Stand By Me, the cinematic testament to hope The Shawshank Redemption, and the terror of The Mist all originated as King stories not quite long enough to be published as full novels. Clearly there is a lot of potential in the material for filmmakers to explore – and writer/director Mike Flanagan is now in the process of trying to add another title to the brilliant legacy by making a film out of “The Life Of Chuck.”

Announced in May 2023 with a pair of notable names attached , the developing film is being lined up as the third Stephen King adaptation from Flanagan, who previously helmed 2017’s Gerald’s Game for Netflix, and Doctor Sleep, the 2019 big screen sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. We’ve put together this feature to keep track of The Life Of Chuck’s development as it moves through the stages of development, so keep an eye on this space as more updates about the movie are announced.

What Is The Life Of Chuck Release Date?

Tom HIddleston in Loki and Mark Hemill in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

(Image credit: Marvel Studios / Lucasfilm)

The Life Of Chuck does not yet have a release date, but it doesn't appear as though fans will have to wait too long to see it. The film has already moved through principal photography and is now in post. The plans for distribution haven't been made clear yet, but when that information is revealed, it's likely we'll learn when the movie will be released.

About The Novella

If It Bleeds by Stephen King book cover

(Image credit: Scribner)

“The Life Of Chuck” was first published as part of Stephen King’s If It Bleeds – the collection of novellas that first hit bookshelves in 2020. The movie will be the second based on a story from that particular book, as that tome is also the home of “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” which was adapted by writer/director John Lee Hancock for Netflix in 2021 .

The novella is not what some might consider a natural fit for an adaptation, as while it’s a story with a literal three act structure, the events featured in each act play out in reverse chronological order and are vastly different even though they are all telling parts of the same narrative.

Headed as “Act III: Thanks, Chuck,” the first third of the story is a surrealistic journey with a protagonist named Marty who is living in a reality defined by the existence of Chuck. Marty begins to notice strangeness unfolding in his everyday life, specifically seeing billboards declaring “Charles Krantz: 39 Great Years! Thanks, Chuck!” and at the end, everything deteriorates as Chuck dies from a brain tumor at the age of 39.

The second act, “Act II: Buskers,” follows Chuck on a sunny day as he hears a drummer busking while walking through Boston on his way to an accounting conference. Feeling the beat, he begins to dance with a young woman and together they get a crowd cheering in approval. It’s after basking in the glow of this moment that he recognizes that he has a horrible headache joining his sore back and legs – the first symptom of the cancer that will eventually end his life.

“Act I: I Contain Multitudes” tells the story of Chuck Krantz’s life as a child – focusing on the period following the death of his parents in an automobile accident. He is raised by his paternal grandparents, Albie and Sarah Krantz, who are loving and sweet, and it is during this time of his life that he first develops a love of dancing. However, it is also in this chapter that Chuck has a haunting and life-changing experience when he discovers what is in the locked cupola of his grandparents’ home.

Tom Hiddleston And Mark Hamill Lead The Life Of Chuck Cast

Tom Hiddleston in Loki and Mark Hamill in Sleepwalkers

(Image credit: Marvel Studios / Columbia Pictures)

The casts of Mike Flanagan’s films and television shows are regularly populated with performers with whom he has previously worked, but The Life Of Chuck will mark the filmmaker’s first time working with Tom Hiddleston, who will be playing the titular role. The project may end up being his first feature since 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. His work has primarily been on the small screen in the last few years, making not only the aforementioned Marvel Disney+ show, but also the Apple TV+ fantasy/drama The Essex Serpent with Claire Danes.

Also part of the cast, playing Chuck’s grandfather, is Mark Hamill, who, unlike Hiddleston, has had the opportunity to collaborate with Flanagan before. The two men recently worked together on the Netflix series The Fall Of The House of Usher. Clearly things went well, and Hamill delivered a tremendous performance.

In late October 2023, it was reported that Chiwetel Ejiofor, Karen Gillan and Jacob Tremblay are all part of the Life Of Chuck cast , but two days later, Mike Flanagan took to his personal Twitter account to announce a deluge of other actors who are in the film . The list of performers who have previously worked with the writer/director includes Annalise Basso, Matt Biedel, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Rahul Kohli, Heather Langenkamp, Carl Lumbly, Violet McGraw, Molly C. Quinn, Sauriyan Sapkota, Kate Siegel, Samantha Sloyan, and Michael Trucco.

First-timers in regards to working with the writer/director include Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, Antonio Raul Corbo, David Dastmalchian, Taylor Gordon, Harvey Guillén, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Matthew Lillard, Benjamin Pajak and Mia Sara.

The Life Of Chuck Features A Number Of Stephen King Movie Veterans

Stephen King as Jordy Verill scared in Creepshow

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

In addition to the cast being filled with stars who have previously worked with Mike Flanagan, there are also a number of stars who have past experience when it comes to Stephen King movies.

While this will be Tom Hiddleston's first experience with King-written source material, this will be the second time that Mark Hamill has been in one of the author's movies. In 1992, he made an uncredited cameo in the opening sequence of director Mick Garris’ Sleepwalkers – which has the distinction of being the first film that was made based on an entirely original screenplay that King wrote.

In 2023, David Dastmalchian made his debut in a Stephen King project with his small but significant role in The Boogeyman, and The Life Of Chuck features a number of actors who previously starred in Mike Flanagan's other King adaptations. Kate Siegel (who is also the writer/director's wife) has a part in Gerald's Game, and Jacob Tremblay, Carl Lumbly, Violet McGraw, and Molly C. Quinn are all in Doctor Sleep.

Mike Flanagan Is Writing, Directing, And Producing The Film As His First Feature Since 2019

Mike Flanagan behind the scenes of Midnight Mass

(Image credit: Netflix)

In addition to writing the script for this film and directing, Mike Flanagan is also producing the movie with his partner Trevor Macy through their shingle, Intrepid Pictures. Like a number of other Flanagan projects (including Oculus, Before I Wake, Hush and Gerald's Game), The Life Of Chuck put stakes down in Alabama for principal photography. Production began in early October 2023  (with approvals given from SAG-AFTRA during the strike) and filming wrapped at the end of November 2023 .

While Flanagan is making the movie as his third King adaptation, it definitely won’t be his last. The filmmaker revealed in December 2022 that he has acquired the rights to King’s massive western/fantasy/sci-fi epic The Dark Tower , and he plans to bring it to life as faithfully as possible. He has said that he is not in a rush to make it, wanting to ensure that the timing is just right… which explains why he is now working on this particular book-to-screen story.

Tom Hiddleston Has Likened The Film To The Shawshank Redemption

Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

When production on The Life Of Chuck ended in November 2023, Tom Hiddleston was on the press tour for Loki Season 2, and CinemaBlend's Erik Swann asked him about both his experience with the work of Stephen King and his time making the movie . The actor addressed both aspects of the question in his response, and in so doing, he compared Mike Flanagan's upcoming film to one of the greatest Stephen King movies of all time: The Shawshank Redemption. Said Hiddleston,

I remember seeing the Shawshank Redemption when I was about 12 or 13 years old, and I think [it’s] still probably one of my top five favorite films of all time – because there is a warmth and a strength of spirit and a kind of overarching philosophy that is resolutely on the side of life and love that's at the center of that story. And I think it's that Stephen King that’s behind The Life of Chuck, the same warmth, same spirit.

Stay tuned for more updates about The Life Of Chuck as the film gets closer to release. To keep track of all of the Stephen King projects in the works, head over to our upcoming Stephen King movies and TV shows guide, and learn about the full history of adaptations with my Adapting Stephen King column.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.