“The Life of Chuck” was one of four novellas published in King’s recent collection “If It Bleeds,” and it is by far the most surreal of them all. I don’t want to ruin things for you if you’ve never read the story, but I will say that it’s unlike any previous Stephen King story, although you can feel the author’s trademark talent at fleshing out real characters even while the story goes into some borderline Charlie Kaufman/”Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” areas.
The story is told in three stages, one stage is a world on the brink of collapse and you don’t know why and in parallel is the story of Chuck. When we meet him he’s dying and the story goes backward from there, all the way back to his childhood and his relationship with his grandparents, including his ghost-seeing grandpa.
Interestingly enough, Darren Aronofsky’s production company, Protozoa Pictures, was the first to option this story, although it seems their option lapsed and King has now trusted it to Flanagan after the success of his previous adaptations, “Gerald’s Game” and “Doctor Sleep.”
The interesting thing about Mike Flanagan is he seems to specialize in adapting notoriously difficult-to-adapt King properties. “Gerald’s Game” was thought unfilmable for a long time because almost the entire story takes place in the mind of a woman handcuffed to a bed and “Doctor Sleep” had the impossible task of bringing together Stephen King’s world and Stanley Kubrick’s iconic cinematic (if not terribly faithful) adaptation. He knocked both out of the park and now he’s tasked with this odd-ball title.
As a major King fan, I can’t think of someone better for the job.