Hollywood, and the audiences they sell to, love reboots and revivals, but not every one of them can be, say, Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man. Sometimes they’re like Doctor Sleep: pricey projects that wind up dramatically underperforming. Indeed, the failure of the belated sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, based on Stephen King’s own follow-up, scuttled what sounded like yet another bit of world building: In a new interview with Collider, director Mark Romanek said a Shining prequel he’d been working on has probably ceased to be.
IndieWire caught the exchange, which came in the middle of a conversation about Amazon’s new anthology sci-fi show Tales from the Loop, whose maiden episode was helmed by Romanek. (You know him from music videos like “Closer,” “Hurt,” and “Criminal” as well as the movies One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go). The prequel, Romanek said, would have been based on a prologue King wrote for his classic 1977 novel, then scrapped, which was set at the turn of the previous century and focused on the robber baron who built the haunted Overlook Hotel. A script was written by The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara, and Romanek had punched it up after signing on to direct. But, barring a miracle, you’ll never see it.
“It’s a great script I think,” Romanek told Collider. “It’s based on Stephen King. It’s not just something somebody made up, and it’s more of an origin story on the, almost like a Western or a wilderness story, going back to the construction and the desecration of the Indian burial grounds, and the construction of the Overlook Hotel and its opening night.”
But there’s one hitch. “The problem is it’s really expensive,” Romanek explained.
“It kind of reads like The Revenant or Heaven’s Gate or something and I think they wanted to try Doctor Sleep to see if — my impression is they wanted to see if there was this sort of Shining universe that would have financial life through them or artistic life with the audience. And I think Doctor Sleep did just sort of okay, and given that our script is so costly, it’s a little dead in the water right now. But you never know, it’s a weird business. It’s a very good script. I’m proud of the script.”
So there you go. You didn’t go see Doctor Sleep, and now you can’t see a prequel to The Shining. But at least you’ll always have the Kubrick version that King famously hates.
(Via Collider and IndieWire)