In 2013, Stephen King released a follow up to one of his most recognized works, The Shining, titled Doctor Sleep. For better or for worse, Oculus and Ouija: Origin of Evil director, Mike Flanagan set out to adapt the book for the screen and then helm the picture as the director. Flanagan is hopefully aware of the league he chose to step into when he decided to tackle the work, since the 1980 adaptation of the original novel, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duval, is recognized as one of the greatest horror films ever made and the film’s director, who hardly needs an introduction, is thought to be the greatest, cinematic visionary the medium has ever seen.
When Stanley Kubrick made The Shining, the film earned a plethora of fans, only growing more and more popular with age. It did, however, have its critics, the primary one of which was Stephen King himself. Kubrick, who changed numerous details of the book and overall thought that the novel was weakly written, stated that the book’s basic plot was the only thing that attracted him to the piece, which angered King by not sticking to the original material. This creates a dilemma considering the adaptation: what story will Flanagan’s sequel follow? The original novel or Kubrick’s film?
While many questions are not yet answered, the announcement that Ewan McGregor might be involved gives the project a little bit of hope. With a big named star attached, Doctor Sleep is less likely to turn out to be a low quality, B-level horror movie (what Flanagan is, so far, known for) since, with a star like McGregor, studios and distributors might take the film more seriously and try to live up to the expectations of Kubrick’s masterpiece (but really, who are we kidding?)
The film is set to be released in January 2020. For now, only hopes and speculations remain and until more information about the project surfaces, one can only keep a doubtful eye on Flanagan’s efforts, wishing that Doctor Sleep will not taint the legacy of the Overlook Hotel and the wonderful piece of cinema that was gifted to the world by a true genius.