Mike Flanagan is no slouch when it comes to adapting Stephen King. He proved that when he took Gerald’s Game, the novel many King fans never thought we’d see on screen, and made it into one of the most successful films on Netflix in 2017. That didn’t give him a free pass with the author, however, when it came to bringing his vision of Doctor Sleep to life on the big screen as he recently told The Daily Beast.
Flanagan has been vocal about his film being an adaptation of King’s novel as well as a sequel to Kubrick’s iconic film. While he has been lauded by some, many critics have pointed out that he’s serving two masters and never fully satisfying both.
“My initial pitch to him was that I’d like to do as faithful an adaptation of Doctor Sleep as I can,” the director told the publication, “but I’d like to bring back the Overlook — and specifically, I’d like to bring back the Overlook as Kubrick imagined it. And his initial reaction was, ‘No.’ He was not interested in that.”
Fans of the novel will remember that the storied Overlook Hotel burned to the ground at the end of the novel, and if you’ve read Doctor Sleep, then you know the final confrontation in that novel happens on the grounds where the Overlook once stood.
Most of you also know that King has never been a fan of Kubrick’s adaptation which dumped a great deal of the story and themes of the novel in favor of Kubrick’s vision.
Flanagan didn’t give up after that initial meeting. He truly wanted King’s blessing to continue and so he went back to the drawing board and came up with a new idea that managed to salute Kubrick while also bringing back some of the elements that the director ignored while creating that initial film.
This, essentially, gave King what he wanted while still opening a door for Flanagan to take his audience back inside the Overlook.
And what did King think of the finished product?
“So, I read the script very, very carefully,” King told Entertainment Weekly, “and I said to myself, ‘Everything that I ever disliked about the Kubrick version of The Shining is redeemed for me here.'”
And that, horror fans, is good enough for us.
Doctor Sleep hits theaters in the U.S. this week, November 8, 2019. Check out the trailer below.