The television landscape hasn’t been kind to J.J. Abrams since Rise of Skywalker. Since signing a massive overall deal with Abrams’ Bad Robot and Warners, he has been developing projects such as the pricey Demimonde, which was scrapped amid the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, as well as several DC projects. Many of those have been cut because of the creation of DC Studios, run by James Gunn and Peter Safran, although his Black Superman project, being written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and on which he is a producer, remains in active development.
Now his luck is possibly changing because J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot banner have teamed up with Warner Bros. for the feature adaptation of Billy Summers, an adaptation of the 2021 Stephen King novel.
Billy Summers focuses on a 44-year-old hitman, the eponymously titled Billy Summers, who is ready to retire when he takes up one last job from a regular client. Taking up a cover story that he is a novelist, Summers ensconces himself into a small-town as he preps for the hit, and in his spare time actually begins to write a novel, which turns into his life story, from his little sister being killed by their mother’s boyfriend to him becoming a decorated sniper.
The hit goes awry when the regular client doesn’t pay, and Summers escapes a trap. His life gets even more complicated when he finds out there’s a bounty on his life and he saves a rape victim named Alice. Summer and the woman end up on a cross-country journey to rectify the hit’s many wrongs.
The Guardian’s Arwa Mahdawi praised the novel, saying:
“It meanders, it pays only the scantest regard to the rules of narrative structure, it indulges gladly in both casual stereotyping and naked political point-scoring. And it’s his best book in years. Like 11/22/63, the first half is pedestrian in pace but rich in colour and characterisation. King has always excelled at sketching everyman’s US, enriching the details into a minor epic register. It’s what elevates him above his genre peers, and it’s in full force here. Cook-outs with Billy’s neighbours, games of Monopoly with their children, date nights and diners – all are part of King’s mythologising of American life.”
Neither a director nor cast has been announced.