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Castle Rock putting its ‘Hearts’ into King tome

Writer telling tales of Vietnam

NEW YORK — The King is returning to the Castle.

Castle Rock has acquired screen rights to Stephen King’s latest novel, “Hearts in Atlantis.” It’s enlisted screenwriter William Goldman, who last teamed with Castle Rock and King when he wrote the script for the Rob Reiner-directed hit “Misery.” The deal marks the seventh time Castle Rock will turn King prose into a film.

“Hearts in Atlantis” doesn’t have the horrific elements of “Misery.” King wrote the new novel for Scribner before nearly losing his life after being struck by a car, and it contains five interlocking stories which share characters and the theme of the Vietnam War. The book unfolds with a story about an 11-year-old whose life is changed by an eccentric adult who turns him on to the William Golding novel “Lord of the Flies,” and an understanding of the nature of war, power and greed that helps the boy make a difficult decision: go to college or get drafted.

Other stories deal with issues such as guilt and nightmares of those who did go to war.

Castle Rock and King have proven to be a reliable recipe for hit films. Their latest collaboration is “The Green Mile,” the Frank Darabont-directed adaptation of the King novel about a peculiar inmate on death row. The Tom Hanks starrer, which has generated strong advance buzz, opens Dec. 10. King’s relationship with Castle Rock began with the Rob Reiner-directed “Stand by Me,” which was followed by “Misery,” “Needful Things,” the Oscar-nominated “Shawshank Redemption” and “Dolores Claiborne.”

CAA brokered the deal.