King-Hill horror novella headed to bigscreen

Producer Nick Wechsler has optioned screen rights to “Throttle,” a 60-page novella written by father-son authors Stephen King and Joe Hill.

Wechsler used his own coin to option the tale.

The protags in the King-Hill novella are father-son members of a motorcycle gang that’s chased through the desert by an 18-wheel tanker truck.The novella will be published in 2009 in “He Is Legend,” an anthology dedicated to Richard Matheson, author of “I Am Legend.”

“It has elements of iconic films like ‘Duel’ and ‘Breakdown,’ but with a horror element that I want to push,” Wechsler said. Literary collaboration is the first between King and his son.

An adaptation of Hill’s novel “Heart-Shaped Box” is moving toward production at Warner Bros. with a script by Neil Jordan. The studio is looking for a director. Meanwhile, Hill’s graphic novel “Locke & Key” is being developed by Dimension.

Wechsler is still formulating his development strategy but is known for moving quickly to acquire material and then taking his time to find a studio to back it. He acquired Cormac McCarthy novel “The Road” long before it won the Pulitzer Prize. The John Hillcoat-directed film, which stars Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron, will go out through Dimension Films on Nov. 26.

Wechsler is also in post-production on the Robert Schwentke-directed adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger novel “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. New Line and Warner Bros. will release that film on Dec. 25.

The “Throttle” deal was brokered by Hotchkiss and Associates and the Michael Choate Agency.

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