Credit: Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images

The Oscar-winning director of The Silence of the Lambs has picked up the film rights to Stephen King’s as-yet-unpublished novel about a rip in time that leads a small-town teacher back to JFK’s assassination.

11/22/63 is due on shelves Nov. 8, but Jonathan Demme has gotten the jump on the title, a kind of odyssey story in which Jack Epping, a school teacher from Maine, ends up going back to 1958, falling in love with a librarian, and encountering assorted historical figures from Elvis Presley to Lee Harvey Oswald as he ventures closer to the political murder that changed history. (Smart money says he’ll change things around even more.)

Demme will write, direct and produce the film through his Clinica Estetico production company. Ilona Herzberg, who tackled a different kind of JFK story in the Cuban Missile Crisis drama Thirteen Days, is also producing, and King himself will executive produce.

Demme has focused his efforts mostly on documentaries in recent years, making The Man From Plains about former president Jimmy Carter, a pair of concert films about Neil Young, and a PBS report about the Hurricane Katrina-savaged Lower 9th Ward. His last drama was 2008’s Rachel Getting Married, and before that, 2004’s remake of The Manchurian Candidate.

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

King has been on a hot streak in Hollywood lately. Though Ron Howard’s sweeping film/TV series adaptation of The Dark Tower was scuttled by Universal due to high cost and high risk, yesterday brought word that the Harry Potter team of screenwriter Steve Kloves and director David Yates would be tackling his apocalyptic novel The Stand.

For more film news, follow Anthony Breznican on Twitter: @Breznican

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