Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Produtions, and Weed Road Productions have made the first casting announcement for their upcoming feature film of Firestarter, a new adaptation of the 1984 Stephen King novel. In a press release, the studio announced that Zac Efron (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, The Greatest Showman) has signed on to star in the film with Collider reporting that he'll take on the part of Andy McGee, the father to the titular character. In the film, a young girl develops pyrokinetic abilities and is abducted by a secret government agency that wants to harness her powerful gift as a weapon.
Keith Thomas of The Vigil will step behind the camera for the film as director which is penned by writer Scott Teems (Halloween Kills, Rectify). Jason Blum and Academy Award winner Akiva Goldsman will produce the film with Martha De Laurentiis, associate producer on the 1984 adaptation starring a young Drew Barrymore, will executive produce.
In a previous interview about the film, Thomas opened up about his excitement about his new take on novel, noting it's not a remake of the previous film while also promising that fans will see all the telekinetic mayhem they would expect from the endeavor.
"It’s a new adaptation of the book," Thomas shared with Zavvi. "When [producer] Jason [Blum] pitched it to me it was exciting, as that’s one of my favorite Stephen King novels, and whilst I really like the 1980s film, I felt we could do something new. The screenplay is by Scott Teems who wrote the upcoming Halloween Kills, it’s an amazing script. It has everything you would want; people’s heads catching fire and their faces melting off, and a dad and daughter on the run trying to survive being chased in this heightened tense experience. We are hoping to film it this year, and it will be a lot of fun."
While King himself typically keeps his distance from adaptations of his work, Thomas confirmed, "He watched The Vigil, approved me as director, and he read the script from the early stages, and he’s very happy with it. He’s excited for it, he’s there the whole way."
The train on new Stephen King adaptations left the station at full speed in 2017 after WB's reboot of IT became the highest grossing horror movie of all time. Since then, adaptations of Gerald's Game and 1922 debuted on Netflix, with Pet Sematary, IT: Chapter Two, Doctor Sleep, and In the Tall Grass all having been released to varying degrees of critical acclaim. New adaptations of 'Salem's Lot, The Long Walk, The Tommyknockers and From a Buick 8 are also all in various stages of development with television shows like The Stand and an Overlook Hotel series in the works.