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La Tempête du Siècle

Note de lecture.

On attendait le Sac d'os et on a eu la Tempête! A la grande surprise des libraires et de ceux qui suivent l'actualité kingienne, est arrivée La Tempête du Siècle en ces premiers jours de février. Le secret de la parution du livre semble avoir été bien gardé. On savait que William Olivier Desmond traduisait Sac d'os, annoncé pour fin 1998, mais on ignorait que cette parution avait été retardée parce que Desmond travaillait en même temps à la traduction d'une autre ¤uvre╔ On savait aussi que King était l'auteur d'un scénario portant ce titre, datant de deux ans, dont le tournage pour une mini-série s'est réalisé en 1998. On en connaissait également le sujet: sur une île, un être démoniaque apparaît, Linoge, qui cherche à s'approprier un jeune enfant pour lui transmettre ses pouvoirs. Afin de se faire donner l'enfant, il déchaîne une tempête sur toute la région.

La réalisation a été diffusée en février 1999 sur la chaîne ABC. Réalisateur: Craig R. Baxley. Trois épisodes de deux heures, 14, 15 et 18 février 1999. Le scénario a été écrit en trois mois, de décembre 1996 à février 1997. L'Avant-propos a été rédigé en juillet 1998. © King 1999. Traduction fr. de William Olivier Desmond, parue chez Albin Michel, début février 1999.

La mini-série TV n'a pas eu le succès escompté, malgré le battage médiatique qui avait été effectué avant sa diffusion . C'est avec The Shining le plus bas score des 6 miniséries de Stephen King produites antérieurement par ABC.

Résumé des deux articles: mars 1999

LA TEMPÊTE DU SIÈCLE.

On comprend les raisons qui ont amené King à publier ce scénario. Il tenait un beau sujet, de plus à grand spectacle, et il s'est aperçu des qualités intrinsèques de son ouvrage. Le canevas est travaillé, avec beaucoup d'indications scéniques. Bref un scénario qui peut se lire en pseudo-roman sans rebuter. Au chaos des éléments entraîné par la tempête se mêle le désordre des consciences causé par un homme, Linoge, qui est une incarnation vivante du mal, un autre avatar de Flagg, l'être maléfique du Fléau, dont il a tous les pouvoirs. Ce scénario-roman nous donne en plus des indications sur la façon dont King fonctionne. Il conçoit par images, voit sous forme comportementale. Dans ce scénario, on trouve une dynamique de l'action qui se retrouve parfois dans ses nouvelles, sans les développements psychologiques habituels qui ralentissant l'action.

UN RÉCIT ALLÉGORIQUE SUR LA RÉSISTANCE.

La Tempête est ensuite une fable allégorique de portée universelle, reprenant une fois encore le thème de l'invasion par le mal (l'agresseur, le fléau, la peste ou le démon), qui fait souvent penser à La Peste d'Albert Camus, oeuvre évidemment d'un tout autre calibre. Mais on y retrouve les réactions d'une société face à l'invasion, les dommages causés aux corps et aux esprits, la collaboration lâche de la plupart, la résistance du meilleur, qui n'empêche pas la souffrance, la mort et la déportation. C'est une oeuvre d'un pessimisme profond, que la présentation en scénario rend percutante, et que King situe dans la perspective du Livre de Job;

 King Is King Again

article du New York Now | Television | ,Thursday, February 11, 1999

King Is King Again: 'Storm' brews over reluctant horror author .

By Ron Givens.

Here's a shocker for you: Stephen King is thinking of retiring &emdash; maybe. "I'd rather leave when I'm at my best than when I start to go downhill," says the 51-year-old author, one of the most successful novelists of our time. "I don't want to finish up my career fishing for bad fastballs because my eyes have started to fail."

King makes this comment in a greenroom at the daytime talk show "The View," where he was about to promote "Storm of the Century," a six-hour miniseries that starts Feb. 14 on ABC.

In "Storm," an evil stranger arrives on a small island off the coast of Maine and terrorizes the community just as a killer blizzard hits. The chiller, King's first screenplay written directly for television, proves that he needn't worry about his abilities. Early reviews, which have been very strong, indicate that King can still hit one out of the park.

In other ways, he seems to contradict the notion that King is in the twilight of his career: He loved working on "Storm" so much that he'd jump at the chance to write another miniseries for the alphabet network. In the meantime, he's not lacking for projects: three more books in his "Dark Tower" series, a novel about a grocery-store price war in 1960s Detroit and a book on creative writing are in the works. He says he'd like to write a nonfiction book about a season in the life of a baseball team.

You have to wonder when his "retirement" could begin. And yet there is a winding-down quality to what he says: "I'm getting to the end, although the house isn't bare yet. It's not time for the fire sale."

King's energy level jumps when he talks about "Storm." He clearly becomes the guy who has produced an almost nonstop stream of horror and suspense since "Carrie" in 1974. More than 30 books of fiction, more than a dozen screenplays.

More than 150 million books sold worldwide. Countless millions in earnings. Forbes estimated that he earned $40 million in 1998 &emdash; and that was considered an off year.

When writing goes well, King says, "it's very addictive. It's like 'Storm of the Century.' I was thinking I'm never going to finish this because I've got all these characters and I've got to try to find a way to integrate all of them into the story. It's like you're pulling this weight behind you. And then at some point, it turns around and it's pulling you."

At the center of "Storm" is evil. The small, insular community on Little Tall Island is bracing for a major winter storm when a stranger (Colm Feore) arrives and kills an old lady. Even though he's locked up in the tiny jail cell behind the general store run by the constable (Tim Daly), townspeople begin to die, each of them scrawling one of the few things the stranger has said: "Give me what I want and I'll go away."

The dark force represented by the stranger fascinates King, who lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. Their daughter and two sons are grown.

"As we go into the next millennium," says King, "evil is the central problem that we have to cope with. We have to try to decide if there is such a thing, and if there is, what we're going to do about it &emdash; whether it's when we dig up the bodies of 40 slaughtered nuns in Rwanda or whether it's the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia or whether it's a case of two boys who go crazy and shoot a bunch of children."

Much of "Storm" has an Old Testament quality to it. The constable refers to the trials of Job, and the evil stranger delivers a perverse kind of judgment on the townspeople. King doesn't present these themes in a heavy-handed way, as the miniseries leavens its morality with narrative suspense &emdash; or maybe it's the other way around.

 

"I believe in God. Very much," says King, who describes himself as a "generic" Protestant. "I just don't believe in church at all. I don't have any use for the religion. In the end, it always comes down to the same thing, which is 'We're better than the rest of the people because God has got a direct line to us.' " Discussing religion, or any other subject, King speaks his mind without hesitation, whether he's complaining about the voraciousness of the media or defending the megadeal he made last year when his publisher of 24 years, Viking, wouldn't meet his reported asking price of $17 million for the novel "Bag of Bones."

King jumped to Simon & Schuster, which put out "Bag" last fall through its Scribner imprint, and the novel got some of the best reviews ever for a King work.

Although he took a lower advance for the novel, he got a cut of the profits. Already, King says, he's made more than he would have if Viking had met his price. "The downside," he says, "is there is a gauntlet which is the press, the radio talk-show guys, everyone who's going to sit in a chair and say, 'Who does this guy think he is, he wants all this money.' You want to find a polite way to say, 'I'll tell you who I am. I'm the only person God made who can do this one particular thing, and you like it. So, shut up.' "

King is similarly blunt when he imagines the end of his career as a published writer. "I'd like to express my gratitude gracefully," he says. "That doesn't mean tears and flowers and Elton John singing 'Candle in the Wind,' " he said with a laugh. "I don't want any of that s---."

hen, with a weariness that comes from knowing that he is, as he says, "wired up" to be the kind of writer who wants to entertain the biggest audiences possible, King adds: "I probably will continue to do it. Probably I'll be like Muhammad Ali and say, 'It's not time yet. One more fight.' "

The smart money says Stephen King isn't about to go gently into that good night. The night is too scary, and he's still got a lot of rocking and rolling to do.

Mes remerciements à Ron Givens et au New York Now | Television .

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