Universal Remaking Stephen King's 'Firestarter;' 'Maximum Overdrive' Remake Also Percolating

Poll a hundred people about their top five movies based on Stephen King novels and I doubt Firestarter, the 1984 film featuring Drew Barrymore in her first post-E.T. film appearance, would even crack the top 90%. I actually wouldn't be surprised if a great many people now have never seen the film.

So, the fact that Universal and the Dino De Laurentiis Company want to remake the movie should be seen as, if not good news, at least a fairly benign report.

Variety says the intent is to create a franchise, and that Mark L. Smith (Vacancy, The Hole) will script the new version. The trade also says the new script will be "loosely" based on the Stephen King novel, and that " the main character is to be reinvented with a little more edge." Because a little girl who is able to telekinetically start fires isn't edgy enough. Thanks for making mutants look so humdrum, X-Men.

Meanwhile, Variety also mentions that the De Laurentiis Co. intends to remake Maximum Overdrive. That one is hardly one of the best King adaptations, but it is certainly among the most unintentionally funny. Stephen King made the film his directorial debut, and wrote the script based on his story 'Trucks.' King reportedly wanted to see an adaptation of his work done right — as he says in the trailer — but later called Maximum Overdrive a 'moron movie' and admitted that he was using so much coke at the time that he barely remembers making the film. And yet it is still a more entertaining film than Firestarter.

The plot of Firestarter (the novel) follows, then you'll find trailers for both original films. I'd just as soon not see a new Maximum Overdrive, because I don't think there's any hope of matching the silly, awful entertainment value of the original. But Firestarter, sure. Knock yourself out, Universal.

Trivia: name the actor who did back to back Stephen King adaptations, one of which being his appearance in Firestarter.

Firestarter is the story of Andrew and Charlie McGee, a father-daughter pair on the run from a government agency known as The Shop. During his college years, Andy had participated in a Shop experiment dealing with "Lot 6", a drug with hallucinogenic effects similar to LSD. The drug gave his future wife, Victoria Tomlinson, minor telepathic abilities, and him an autohypnotic mind domination ability he refers to as "the Push". Both his and Vicky's powers are physiologically limited; in his case, overuse of the Push gives him crippling migraine headaches and minute brain hemorrhages, but their daughter Charlie developed a frightening pyrokinetic ability, with the full extent of her power unknown. After a mistake was made by Shop agents, Vicky was killed and Charlie was taken, but Andy, using the Push, managed to reclaim her and the pair have been on the run since.