The Shining sequel

Mike Flanagan‘s adaptation of Stephen King‘s Doctor Sleep is technically a sequel to The Shining – but that causes a problem. As any King fan can tell you, Stanley Kubrick‘s film adaptation of The Shining is very different from King’s book, which raises a question: will Flanagan’s film ignore The Shining movie adaptation entirely, or will the filmmaker reference Kubrick’s classic in some capacity? We now know the answer.

In an interview with Bloody Disgusting, Mike Flanagan makes it official: Doctor Sleep will acknowledge Kubrick’s The Shining. “I think you do have to acknowledge that,” the filmmaker says. “There is no version of the world where I am trying not to acknowledge one of the greatest films ever made. There’s no upside in shying away from that reality.”

If you’ve never read King’s The Shining and only know the story via Kubrick’s wildly popular film, this might seem like a no-brainer. But Kubrick took great liberties with King’s text – something that drove King nuts. So much so that he agreed to pen a mini-series remake of The Shining that stuck much closer to the source material (spoiler alert: it ended up being bad). King’s Doctor Sleep book serves as a sequel to his Shining novel, not Kubrick’s film. But since a large portion of the movie going public likely associates The Shining with Kubrick’s unfaithful adaptation, turning Doctor Sleep into a movie raises a few potential problems.

When the film adaptation was announced, I wondered if Flanagan would ignore Kubrick’s work entirely, but that’s apparently not the case. I’m very curious to see how the filmmaker addresses this issue. “At the same time, this is not The Shining,” Flanagan adds to Bloody Disgusting, going on to say:

“It’s its own story and in a very specific way. If you’ve read the book, you know exactly why it’s so different but it’s quite a tightrope that we’re walking I think. I’m having a great time doing it. I’m just going to get the movie out and then turn off the internet for two weeks and see how it all goes.”

In Doctor Sleep, Danny Torrance, the young psychic boy from The Shining, is all grown-up but still dealing with the physical and emotional trauma from his time at the Overlook Hotel. Over the course of the story, Danny becomes the protector of a young girl who also possess the shining powers, and who is being targeted by a nomadic gang of psychic vampires (yeah, it’s weird). Ewan McGregor plays Danny, and the rest of the cast features Rebecca Ferguson, Zahn McClarnon, Carl Lumbly, Bruce Greenwood, Emily Alyn Lind, and Kyleigh Curran.

Doctor Sleep opens on January 24, 2020.

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