While Jack Nicholson doesn't appear in the 2019 The Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep, his character Jack Torrance does. Played by Henry Thomas in the film, he appears as the bartender, an apparition calling himself Lloyd and tries to get the adult and now sober Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) to drink as he looks eerily like Jack. It's a surprising moment, and Thomas appearance as Jack is somewhat eerie and considering that Nicholson made role of Jack such an iconic one, stepping into it for the prequel had to be a bit daunting. However, for Thomas, his approach was that he didn't want to attempt to impersonate Nicholson. The actor explained in a conversation for the 40th anniversary of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial that he took on the role as the apparition's impression, doing whatever it takes to pull Danny in.
"I've met Jack before. I haven't really hung out with him at all, but I met him once in L.A. And you know, it's important, I think, I wasn't doing an impression of Jack Nicholson," Thomas told ComicBook.com about the approach. "I was doing the house's impression of Lloyd the bartender and Jack Nicholson, whatever her could throw up to kind of pull Danny in. So, one of the reasons why I agreed to that project was because Mike [Flanagan, director] said, 'we're not doing an impersonation or an impression of Jack Nicholson.' I said, okay, great maybe it'll be interesting. I think to approach it [as an impersonation] would mean a little disrespect."
What is Doctor Sleep about?
The full synopsis for Doctor Sleep is as follows: "On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the "steam" that children with the "shining" produce when they are slowly tortured to death. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant "shining" power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes "Doctor Sleep." Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul..."
What happened to The Shining prequel?
Ahead of the release of Doctor Sleep, director Mike Flanagan had teased that he hoped to work on a prequel with the project Hallorann, focusing on the early years of Dick Hallorann. However, Flanagan recently confirmed on social media that the series was definitively dead due to the poor box office performance of Doctor Sleep.
"Because of Doctor Sleep's box office performance, Warner Bros. opted not to proceed with it," he wrote. "They control the rights, so that was that."
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