Back in 1980, director Stanley Kubrick delivered audiences an adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining, with the combination of talents making for one of the most-anticipated horror events of that year. While opinions on the film were initially divided, many audiences have grown to consider it one of the best supernatural movies of all time. King, however, has regularly spoken out about his disappointment with that film, inspiring him to develop his own adaptation of the material for a miniseries in the '90s. For the upcoming adaptation Doctor Sleep, a follow-up story to King's novel, Mike Flanagan wanted to honor both King's original vision as well as Kubrick's cinematic vision, which required King coming to terms with his frustrations over the 1980 film.
"When it came to trying to craft the adaptation, I went back to the book first and the big conversation that we had to have was about whether or not we could still do a faithful adaptation of the novel as King had laid it out, while inhabiting the universe that Kubrick had created," Flanagan shared with press at a Q&A event. "And that was a conversation that we had to have with Stephen King, to kick the whole thing off. If that conversation hadn't gone the way it went we wouldn't have done the film."
He added, "As a lot of you know – I imagine all of you know – Stephen King's opinions about the Kubrick adaptation are famous and complicated. And complicated to the point that if you've read [Doctor Sleep] you know that he actively and intentionally ignored everything that Kubrick had changed about his novel, and defiantly said, 'Nope, this exists completely outside of the Kubrick universe.'"
One of King's biggest issues with Kubrick's film is the portrayal of Jack Torrance, while the film also makes a number of logistical tweaks to the source material. Doctor Sleep is set to unite both the literary and cinematic versions of the story.
"We had to go to King and explain how, and some of that amounts to very practical questions about certain characters who are alive in the novel, The Shining who are not alive by the end of the film," Flanagan noted. "How do I deal with that? And in particular how to get into the vision of the Overlook that Kubrick had created. And our pitches to Stephen went over surprisingly well, and we came out of the conversation with not only his blessing to do what we ended up doing, but his encouragement."
The filmmaker, who previously adapted King's Gerald's Game for Netflix, revealed that both the author and Kubrick's estate were sent cuts of the finished film, which he claimed went well.
"That was always the hope going in, that there was some universe in which Stephen King and the Stanley Kubrick estate could both love this movie," Flanagan confirmed. "That is the dream."
Stay tuned for details on Doctor Sleep, which hits theaters on November 8th.
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[H/T Bloody Disgusting]