We are in the middle of a Renaissance of Stephen King adaptations at the multiplex. Audiences have flocked to the recent reimagining of PET SEMATARY, while fans of IT are giddy about the return of Pennywise the clown in September’s anticipated IT: CHAPTER TWO. But what about DOCTOR SLEEP? Did you know that it’s coming to theatres — and that it’s a sequel to King’s seminal work, “The Shining”?
That’s right. In 2013, best-selling author Stephen King released “Doctor Sleep,” a literary sequel to the story told in “The Shining.” This book followed the character of Danny Torrance, the boy blessed/cursed with “the shining,” as he continues to wrestle with the ghosts that haunted him at the Overlook Hotel.
Danny, we learn, has turned to alcohol as a means of suppressing the psychic powers that plagued him as a child. Alcoholism links him to his abusive father, Jack Torrance (played on screen in Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING by the masterful Jack Nicholson). Only, Danny now travels the country essentially using his powers to help people drift off into the peaceful “rest” of death, thereby earning him the nickname Doctor Sleep.
There’s a lot more to King’s novel, “Doctor Sleep” — including how it connects Danny’s current story back to the one that played out in “The Shining.” But we’ll refrain from going into detail on it here, because DOCTOR SLEEP is getting its own big screen adaptation that’s set to be released in theatres on November 8.
From Warner Bros., DOCTOR SLEEP will star Ewan McGregor as the older Danny Torrance. There are rumors that GOOD BOYS and WONDER star Jacob Tremblay will join McGregor in the movie as the version of Danny from THE SHINING. If that happens, that strikes us as perfect casting.
The storyline will involve Torrance taking on a cult known as The True Knot, led by Rebecca Ferguson (of the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise). This cult will feed on the powers of children who share similar psychic powers that Danny displays, so you understand why he’d be inclined to interfere and stop whatever nefarious plans the group might have.
One reason why we are extremely excited by DOCTOR SLEEP is that the adaptation is being written and directed by Mike Flanagan, who has some outstanding horror and thriller credits to his name. He previously worked on a retelling of a Stephen King story in GERALD’S GAME with Bruce Greenwood and Carla Gugino. He helmed the excellent horror films OCULUS (with JUMANJI standout Karen Gillan) and HUSH. But his masterpiece is the multipart television series “The Haunting of Hill House.” We can’t wait to see what he does with Stephen King’s DOCTOR SLEEP.
During Warner Bros.’ panel at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, the DOCTOR SLEEP footage heralded the upcoming movie as the conclusion to the story told in THE SHINING. See how it all resolves when Mike Flanagan’s DOCTOR SLEEP slides into theatres on November 8.