For the last few years, we’ve been hearing about “Doctor Sleep,” a sequel to “The Shining” that Stephen King has been working on, with a January 2013 release date still rumored for it. The idea that Dan Torrence is now middle-aged sort of makes me want to jump off a building, but it makes perfect story sense that King would want to return to the character and check in on him. After all, he had to have been marked by the extraordinary events of “The Shining,” and he wasn’t exactly a normal kid to begin with.
What I’m not as sold on upon first hearing about it is a potential sequel to “The Shining.” I guess the Overlook Hotel has been around for a long time, and terrible things have certainly happened there over the years, but I’m wondering why “prequel” continues to be the go-to default position for studios looking to squeeze a little extra life out of something. By now, I think even the most accepting audiences have realized that most prequels are creative dead-ends where there’s very little chance for dramatic engagement precisely because we already know what comes afterwards.
Sure, there are some talented people involved with this one according to the report in the LA Times today. I’ve been saying for years that studios would do well to hire Laeta Kalogridis for almost anything as long as they actually support her once they do so, and James Vanderbilt is no slouch either. Right now, it sounds like they’re working as a team with Bradley Fischer to come up with a take as producers and then they’ll go find a writer for the project.
And maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they’ll have an awesome take and they’ll make the Overlook terrifying and this will turn out to be a strong and interesting addition to the mythology of that place. It sounds like it’s very early in the process at this point, and we’re a long way from this actually ending up onscreen. For now, it’s just in that early exploratory phase, and it’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, actually pans out.
I just know I wouldn’t want to be the director who has to follow up Kubrick. Yikes.