Posted: 06/17/2006


Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Mind of Stephen King


by Del Harvey

Premieres July 12, 9/8c

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Turner Network Television (TNT), whose big hit last year was the adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, has put together a top notch cast for its latest venture into King territory, Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King.

This anthology series of eight one-hour episodes adapted from King’s short stories will feature such notable performers as Emmy winner and Oscar® nominee William H. Macy (Fargo, TNT’s Door to Door and The Wool Cap) and Jacqueline McKenzie (The 4400, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood), who star in “Umney’s Last Case”; Emmy winner Kim Delaney (NYPD Blue, CSI: Miami) and Steven Weber (The Shining, Wings), who star in “You Know They Got a Hell of a Band”; Samantha Mathis (TNT’s The Mists of Avalon and Salem’s Lot) and Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under, TNT’s Julius Caesar), who headline “The Fifth Quarter”; Golden Globe nominee Ron Livingston (Band of Brothers, The Cooler) and Golden Globe nominee Henry Thomas (E. T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Legends of the Fall), who star in “The End of the Whole Mess”; Oscar® nominee Tom Berenger (Platoon, TNT’s Into the West) and Oscar® nominee and Golden Globe winner Marsha Mason (The Goodbye Girl, Frasier), who star in “The Road Virus Heads North”; and Oscar® winner William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Village), who headlines “Battleground.”

Nightmares & Dreamscapes comes to TNT from Bill Haber’s Ostar Enterprises, with Haber (The Uprising, Jack and the Bean Stalk: The Real Story, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) serving as executive producer. The series is produced by Mike Robe, Jeffrey Hayes and John J. McMahon and premieres on TNT in July.

The following stories are included in the production:

Umney’s Last Case
Starring William H. Macy, Jacqueline McKenzie
Teleplay by April Smith, based on the short story by Stephen King; directed by Rob Bowman
After the death of his son, writer Sam Landry (Macy) is so desperate to lead another life, he writes himself into his own book, forcing his long-time character (also played by Macy) to change places with him and live in the modern day. But things get deadly when Landry realizes Umney is trapped and cannot write himself out of his new reality.

The End of the Whole Mess
Starring Ron Livingston, Henry Thomas
Teleplay by Lawrence D. Cohen, based on the short story by Stephen King, directed by Mikael Salomon
The world had changed. Violence, war and hatred have been replaced with kindness, peace and love. But at what price? Renowned filmmaker Howie Fornoy (Livingston), with just one hour to live, recounts the details of his brother’s (Thomas) worldwide experiment gone terribly wrong.

Crouch End
Starring Eion Bailey, Claire Forlani
Teleplay by Kim LeMasters, based on the Short Story by Stephen King, directed by Mark Haber
A newlywed American couple (Bailey and Forlani) honeymooning in London goes to Crouch End to have dinner with a friend. They soon learn the town is not what it appears to be, and the more they get lost, the more they become trapped in another dimension.

The Fifth Quarter
Starring Jeremy Sisto, Samantha Mathis
Teleplay by Alan Sharp, based on the short story by Stephen King, directed by Rob Bowman
Willie (Sisto), a just-released convict, learns from his dying friend of a map in four parts that reveals the location of several million dollars from a robbery. Seeking revenge for the death of his friend and the money, as well, Willie hunts down the others who hold the remaining three parts to the map, risking his family and his freedom.

Autopsy Room Four
Starring Richard Thomas, Greta Scacchi
Teleplay by April Smith, based on the short story by Stephen King, directed by Mikael Salomon
Businessman Howard Cottrell (Thomas) is on vacation playing one of his many games of golf. Chasing the ball into the undergrowth, he is bitten by a snake and completely paralyzed, showing no signs of life. At the hospital, unable to communicate, he is the key witness to his own autopsy.

You Know They Got a Hell of a Band
Starring Kim Delaney, Steven Weber
Teleplay by Mike Robe, based on the short story by Stephen King, directed by Mike Robe
A wrong turn on a lonely road turns frightening for Clark and Mary Willingham (Weber and Delaney) as they stumble upon a town not on any map—Rock and Roll Heaven, Oregon. There is a free concert every night, but the price of admission is high—once the audience enters, it can never leave.

Starring William Hurt
Teleplay by Richard Christian Matheson, based on the short story by Stephen King, directed by Brian Henson
Jason Renshaw (Hurt), a professional hit man, successfully murders the CEO of a prestigious toy company, only to face the biggest fight of his life when a package from the toy company is delivered to his house with surprising, deadly contents.

The Road Virus Heads North
Starring Tom Berenger, Marsha Mason
Teleplay by Peter Filardi, based on the short story by Stephen King, directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan
Richard Kinnell (Berenger) is a famous writer who, at a doctor’s visit, learns he may soon have to deal with his own mortality. On the drive back to his home, he buys a mysterious painting. Each time he looks at it, it changes to become more menacing and sinister. He pieces together that the painting is trying to kill him…but not if he can destroy it first.

Four of the adaptations included in Nightmares & Dreamscapes come from King’s 1993 anthology by the same name. “The Road Virus Heads North” comes from King’s 2002 anthology Everything’s Eventual, and “Battleground” comes from 1978’s Night Shift.

The one-hour episodes will air two at a time beginning Friday night, July 12th, 9/8c, and every consecutive Friday night after that. But, like they say, check your local listings for showtimes.

Del Harvey is a film teacher and writer living in Chicago.

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