shining prequel

When a prequel to The Shining was announced, it didn’t sound like such a hot idea. That changed when Mark Romanek became attached to the project — a real-deal director, not some run-of-the-mill work-for-hire. The director behind One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go is a filmmaker with a vision, and according to the producer of The Overlook Hotel, The Shining prequel will only move forward with Romanek if he gets the opportunity to make his own movie. Read more about the project after the jump.

The film, based on a deleted prologue written by Stephen King, “Before the Play,” is about “the origin story of the Overlook Hotel through the eyes of its first owner, Bob T. Watson. A robber baron at the turn of the 20th century, Watson scaled the remote peaks of the Colorado Rockies to build the grandest resort in America, and a place he and his family would also call home.”

The adaptation of that prologue, penned by The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara, has been kicking around at Warner Bros. for a few years now. The studio once offered the project to Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity), so they obviously want a director with something to say.

The producer of the film, screenwriter-turned-director James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), has confirmed with Collider that if the The Shining prequel gets made, it’ll be a Mark Romanek film.

One of the things that’s amazing about [Mark] is that he’s a strong filmmaker with his own convictions, and Mark is gonna make the movie Mark is gonna make… I think there’s something wonderful about a director who says, ‘No, this is the film.’ Fincher was the same way. It’s like, ‘This is the movie I wanna make. If you don’t wanna make that movie, that’s totally cool, then we won’t make the movie.’ And now as someone who’s directed a film, that’s kinda what you want. You want the captain of the ship to be like, ‘I know what the film is, I know how to make it, let’s go do it.

There’s an air of mystery to Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining, which is a part of why it’s a terrifying horror movie. To explain that mystery to death is redundant, but that’s not the plan.

You want a real filmmaker like Mark doing it… Honestly I think people will really be excited about it, because it’s not like ’20 Years Before The Shining!’. I don’t want to give too much away about the story but the way Glen cracked it and the way Mark has sort of cracked it, it’s completely its own film, which I think is super smart. It’s not like, ‘When Scatman Crothers was young, he…’ it’s not that.

That’s what a prequel should do: not ride the coattails of the first film. Nobody wants to watch a checklist, like, “Remember that part you loved in the first movie? Here’s the explanation you never asked for or wanted!” Mark Romanek is a smart filmmaker, so we shouldn’t expect to see that kind of movie from him. The director has created some frightening images in his music videos and two feature films; he’s an ideal candidate to make an atmospheric horror movie. The Shining prequel is currently in good hands.

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