Out now in theaters and on Peacock is a fresh adaptation of Stephen King's Firestarter, with the nature of being an adaptation of a novel seeing fans innately comparing it to its predecessor, which also includes comparisons to the 1984 film inspired by the novel. While the new film remains largely faithful to the source material and will draw similarities to the previous film, there are some changes that have been made, with King himself recently pointing out some of the reasons he thinks this new take on the material is an improvement from the movie that was released previously.
"If you compare David Keith as Andy McGee [in the 1984 film] and Zac Efron [in the new Firestarter], I think Efron wins the battle because he seems a lot more intelligent and he does a lot less lying to the kid, too," King shared with Vanity Fair. "In the original Firestarter movie there's a lot of, 'Oh, Charlie, everything's going to be all right.' There's nothing that raises my hackle so much as lying to a child. This character, this iteration of Andy McGee, doesn't do that. I think Zac Efron did a wonderful job. It's a very grown-up part. And he pulled it off."
This performance isn't the only one that King prefers to the original, as he shared that he also supports the casting of Michael Greyeyes for the character of Rainbird over the previous film casting George C. Scott in the role.
"I read the script beforehand and I thought to myself, okay, what they've done here is they have concentrated the story and made it a family story. And I love that. They've kept the major beats in the story and thank God they got a real Native American to play John Rainbird. That was a step in the right direction," the author revealed. "He's pretty good. There's a lot more authenticity to that performance. It's an inward, powerful performance."
Casting decisions aren't the only parts of this reboot King supports, as he expressed how he was delightfully surprised by the ways this version reimagined the use of Andy's powers and his attempts to use them for good, even if this denied the audience some grisly moments.
"Sometimes movie people think up things and you say, 'I wish I had done that.' In this movie, Andy becomes a kind of a counselor to try to talk people out of their bad habits. And he does it by 'pushing' them. There's a woman at the beginning who's a smoker and he's talking her out of it," King explained. "That was a pretty good turn on him. On the other hand, there was a scene in the book that's not in the movie where he pushed a guy into putting his hand in a garbage disposal and turning it on. That would've been great."
The new Firestarter is in theaters and on Peacock now.
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