Warner Bros. released the trailer for Doctor Sleep, the sequel to Stephen King’s The Shining, on Thursday morning. Horror master Mike Flanagan walks a fine line between the Stephen King novel and the Kubrick adaptation.
Many of the elements in the Doctor Sleep trailer are reminiscent of Kubrick’s 1980 film, most notably the “Redrum” everywhere. While it’s set decades after the Overlook Hotel tragedy, those events still haunt a grown-up Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor). His connection to the past only grows stronger when he meets Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran). Their shared gift draws him into a world of nightmares, which draws from the iconic novels and film.
Normally, the two don’t mix, as King famously disavowed the theatrical interpretation of his work. But as Mike Flanagan explained in a press conference for Doctor Sleep, the director and screenwriter worked hard to merge the universes. “Reconciling those three at times very different sources,” Flaganan admitted, “has been the most challenging and thrilling part of this.”
Doctor Sleep Has King’s Approval
Flanagan and his producer partner, Trevor Macy, went to the King of horror himself to combine book and film.
“The first conversation we had to have – other than that we as fans of King and as apostles of The Shining really needed to try to bring those worlds back together again – we had to go to King and explain how. Some of that [involved] very practical questions about certain characters who were alive in the novel The Shining who were not alive by the end of the film. How to deal with that, and then in particular how to get into the vision of The Overlook that Kubrick had created. 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.“
That encouragement is what allows fans to witness the combination of iconic shots from Kubrick’s film recontextualized in Doctor Sleep. Far from being an attempt at copying his style, the trailer presents a vision that’s very much Flanagan’s. And thankfully Stephen King’s, too.
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