Ryan Kiera Armstrong Did Some Drew Barrymore Research Before Filming Firestarter

From "Carrie" to "The Stand" and beyond, the works of American author Stephen King have been adapted by multiple generations. The latest King project to get an adaptation is "Firestarter," based on his 1980 sci-fi thriller novel of the same name. The story concerns Charlie McGee, a young girl who is inadvertently gifted with powers of pyrokinesis as a result of government-controlled experiments on her parents. Following the murder of her mother, Charlie and her father Andy flee from the agency responsible, known as The Shop. The plot should sound vaguely familiar to fans of "Stranger Things," which took inspiration from King's novel in shaping the role of the telekinetic, waffle-loving character Eleven. "Firestarter" got a feature-length adaptation just four years after the novel's release, and while the author compared director Mark L. Lester's approach to the source material to "cafeteria mashed potatoes," King has since come around to praise the performance of original lead Drew Barrymore.

On the eve of a new Blumhouse and Universal-backed version of the 1980 novel, which releases in theaters and on Peacock this Friday, Barrymore (no stranger to King adaptations) provides inspiration to the young lead of "Firestarter" 2022. Directed by Keith Thomas ("The Vigil"), the new film stars Zac Efron as Charlie's telekinetic father, Andy, and Sydney Lemmon ("Succession") as her late mother, Vicky, while the little firefly herself is played by Ryan Kiera Armstrong. Like her predecessor, Armstrong has already waded into the murky supernatural waters of Stephen King, having crossed paths with Pennywise the Dancing (and child-eating) Clown in "It Chapter 2." That doesn't mean that she didn't have any trepidation; in a new interview, Armstrong revealed that she peeked at the 1984 adaptation in her prep for the role.

Let it burn

It's not that twelve-year-old Keira Ryan Armstrong is afraid to touch darker roles as an actress. Her pained violinist Alma devours animals and slays nosy cops in last year's "Double Feature" season of FX's "American Horror Story" series. But Armstrong, like any young person, has a strained relationship with the horror genre. She tells ComicBook.com:

"I did see it beforehand, I actually watched like 99.999% of it, through little clips, because it's great to have that inspiration, but I didn't watch the whole thing because, oh, my gosh, I am so bad with horror movies, I cannot watch them. And it's funny, I can't watch them but I love to make horror movies, which is just ironic. But, of course, I also want it to be distinct and also different and also a renewed version of "Firestarter," and it to be unique and its own. And Keith did an amazing job of doing that as well."

Judging by the early film clips of Charlie kicking tires and lighting fires, it appears that the Shop agents are the ones who should be scared. Watch Charlie burn it all down — to the pumping, pulsating tunes of John Carpenter — as "Firestarter" drops in theaters and on Peacock on May 13, 2022.