Apt Pupil (lost production material for unfinished film adaptation of Stephen King novel; 1987)

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Collection of novellas including Apt Pupil.

Status: Lost

In 1987, British director Alan Bridges began to film an adaptation of Stephen King's 1982 novella, Apt Pupil. The story centers around Todd Bowden, a teenager who realizes that a man who lives in his town is actually a Nazi war criminal named Kurt Dussander. Todd blackmails Dussander into telling him the gory details of the Holocaust in exchange for not turning him over to the authorities. Over time, his stories take their toll on Todd, and he eventually turns to murdering homeless men to relieve his nightmares.

Child actor Ricky Schroder played Todd while British actor Nicol Williamson played Dussander. Only about three-fourths of the film (approximately 40 minutes) was completed before the production ran out of money, and Bridges was forced to abandon the film.

The budget of the film was fourteen million dollars, but only nine million was spent. There was also a lawsuit because there was a scene where the actors had to be strip naked during a shower scene, but the lawsuit was determined to be without merit.



The film had too much Nazism and references to the Holocaust that is in the Apt Pupil film, which has something to do between Nazi war criminal Kurt Dussander and high school student Todd Bowden in common in Stephen King's novel.


"Caroline Picart and David Frank write that the face of evil is represented in the film as Nazism, oft-labeled as "quintessentially innate [and] supernaturally crafty", but also "in a more subterranean way, dangerously blurring... the boundaries between homoeroticism and homosexuality". The film also expounds its connection between homophobia and the Holocaust.

Behind the Scenes

The novella was later successfully filmed by Bryan Singer in February 1998, starring Brad Renfro as Todd and Ian McKellen as Dussander.[1]

Nothing has been seen or heard of the unfinished film by the public, and its current whereabouts are unknown. It was rumored that some of the screening tapes of the film circulated at a convention in 1987 and 1988, but nothing has surfaced since. Stephen King called what he saw of the film "really good".[2]

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