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Anyone who has read the Stephen King novel The Running Man is almost surely aware that the 1987 film adaptation starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is far from faithful. Both are dystopian stories that center on a protagonist named Ben Richards who participates in a killer televised game show, but the book and movie take that idea in very different directions.

Reflecting on King’s work, one can see multiple reasons why it would be difficult to bring to the big screen, but according to screenwriter Steven de Souza, it was really the project being planned as a Schwarzenegger vehicle that prevented greater faithfulness. Why? Because Ben Richards in the novel is a sickly, desperate and unemployed individual, and de Souza doesn’t think that any audiences would buy the idea that a person who looks like The Predator star would ever be out of work.

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