Wednesday, February 7, 2018
There's not a lot I can say about Home Delivery without spoiling it. That kinda sucks, but as it first appeared in a collection called The Living Dead, it probably won't surprise you that it's a zombie story.
But what it is at heart is the story of a young woman. It's a subtle and actually charming story of a woman who discovers herself in the midst of one of the worst circumstances of all.
King has taken some hits over the years for some alleged misogyny in some of his earlier volumes. I haven't seen it; the misogynistic characters he's written have always been portrayed as monsters, but this one is an actual feminist piece that doesn't come off as misandry. It's just a story about a woman who grew up believing one thing about her gender and its natural role, and discovering what it can really mean when faced with the worst situation. Usually feminist stories turn out to undercut their own points or are all about making men out to be monsters, but not here.
It starts out talking about how Maddie has been raised by an abusive father and weak-willed mother, never really hearing about the Women's Movement, and in that actually being more like the other women around town. That town, at first, anyway, is on Little Tall Island, which is also where Dolores Claiborne is set, and it gets a shout-out, even though this story was published first. This makes me wonder if that shout-out was in the initial print of this story (I know there were changes from the first version to the one in Nightmares and Dreamscapes, which is the one I read), especially because there's no way Dolores Claiborne and this story take place on the same level of the Tower.
Maddie marries a fisherman and it seems like she's being set up for an idyllic, if repressed, life. She wants nothing more than to be a good wife and do what her husband tells her, to the point where she can't really decide anything on her own. Her husband is not abusive, like her father, but he is domineering, and Maddie is okay with that. More than okay; it's like she wouldn't know what to do with herself if he wasn't domineering. Then she gets pregnant, and Jack dies, and "the world gets weird."
Just when you think it's going to be a dramatic story about a woman in chains struggling to survive by herself, the story genre-shifts and the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us. And she learns that when the chips are down, she can deal. And she does so in a ladylike fashion that underlines that she doesn't have to change who she is to talk hold of her life.
This story feels for the first few pages like it's set in the 60's or something, but I believe it was meant to be a modern parable, and thus, it will be set in present-day. Its connection to Dolores Claiborne will be minimal, since I don't think I'll be adapting that one. I'd like Sean Byrne to direct this one, as his film The Devil's Candy was another film that examined the family dynamic while being an unabashed horror movie.
For Maddie, I picked Alexis Bledel, whose eyes always convince you that she's innocent, naive and as fragile as your grandmother's china. She's 36, but she's always going to look 16, I guess. The youthfulness definitely will help her seem like a damsel in distress, which is what we need.
Her cro-mag husband Jack is not a bad guy, just not a very smart or thoughtful guy. He's kinda monosyllabic and doltish, but the funniest thing about him is his propensity to go on rants about how he's not always gonna be a lobsterman, no sir, he's got plans, big ones, he's gonna do right. And then he dies. I pictured him played by Garrett Hedlund, who, in a crazy twist, is actually three years younger than Alexis Bledel.
Those are really the only two major roles, but I'll cast Maddie's parents as well, since there will be a prologue about why Maddie is the way she is. Her father, George Sullivan, will be played by Gregory Sporleder (who was once Beverly Marsh's dad, but not anymore):
And for her mother, whose name is never spoken, I picked Dierdre Lovejoy:
Her closest friend is Candy Pulsipher, who's kind of like a mother to her after she moves away from her childhood home. I picked Laura Linney.
A British scientist, described as having a big nose, is the one who first discovers what's going on. His part is not very large, but is very important. I picked Ewen Bremner, who is British and has a big nose.
Now, once the zombie action gets started, a few of the menfolk get ready to defend their little town. I pictured this mostly as a group of hapless yokels in over their heads, but Dave Eamon, a close friend of Maddie and Candy, does come off somewhat heroic. I chose Paul Sparks:
Town Selectman Bob Daggett is going to be played by Kevin Breznahan, who plays hapless but determined well.
His father Frank, who starts off as comic relief but becomes the only member of the party with a brain in his head, made me think this is a perfect role for an elderly comedian who people can take seriously because they've known him for so long. Like Joe Flaherty, whose Eastern Canadian accent will sound pretty close to a rural Maine accent.
Finally, the President of the United States (unnamed, but in the version I read he seemed like a riff on Bill Clinton) will be played by Jim O'Heir, who could be seen as a pastiche of Clinton and Trump (and please, let's have no more discussion about Trump.) (Or Clinton, for that matter.)
I've read all the other short stories I mentioned, and am now on The Dark Half, which I've said will be getting an adaptation, because there's no way I'm leaving Sheriff Alan Pangborn's introductory story out. I have no idea at the moment who I'll be picking to play Pangborn.
My next post will be about skipped stories, as I've now read enough to justify a post on them. After that, it's The Dark Half.