Mike Flanagan wanted Stephen King's blessing for Doctor Sleep vision

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 11 November 2019
Mike Flanagan and Ewan McGregor

Mike Flanagan and Ewan McGregor

Mike Flanagan wouldn't have made 'Doctor Sleep' without Stephen King's blessing because he wanted to pay homage to Stanley Kubric's take on 'The Shining', despite knowing the author wasn't a fan

Mike Flanagan wouldn't have made 'Doctor Sleep' without Stephen King's blessing.

The 41-year-old director wanted to pay homage to Stanley Kubrick's 1980 movie 'The Shining' with his adaptation of the author's sequel but knowing the writer had a number of criticisms about the horror classic, he wanted to explain his vision to him before going ahead with the project.

Mike told 'Entertainment Tonight': "In the beginning, when we were developing the script, I said, 'Well, this is what I think this is what I would do: There's only one way to make this movie and that's to acknowledge the cinematic impact of Kubrick's film. That's the language that everyone knows when they think of the Overlook and the Torrances. This could be a real chance to celebrate that.'

"But it could be a real opportunity to take those two visions, which still to this day, is something that [King] has very strong feelings about, and try to bring them back together. To try to reconcile them, even if only a little...and that, as a fan, was an irresistible opportunity.

"After he heard me out and heard how I would approach it and why I wanted to do it that way, he gave his blessing to do that before I went to write the script.

"And, if he hadn't given his blessing, I wouldn't have made the film."

'Doctor Sleep' features the recreation of several sets from the Overlook Hotel featured in 'The Shining' – in which Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) dies after making attempts to kill his family when he is taken over by the spirits of the building – and actor Ewan McGregor, who plays the adult version of Jack's son Danny, admitted it was hard to forget iconic moments from the first movie while shooting his own scenes for the sequel.

He said: "It's odd in a way because you have to sort of ignore them.

"There are sort of filmmaker moments where we're remembering the original movie. But my character's not, unless he's remembering a moment of his past in there, which, of course, Danny had.

"But looking through the door, for instance, is an example where I have to sort of forget that this is an iconic moment from 'The Shining' and, of course, it's an image of Jack Nicholson that we see on T-shirts and posters and all over the world, all my life, of him looking through that door'

"And now, I've got to now look through it as his son, as Danny, and try not to let it bother me."

Doctor Sleep

  • 3 stars
  • 2019
  • US
  • 2h 33min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Mike Flanagan
  • Cast: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis
  • UK release: 31 October 2019

Danny (McGregor) is still recovering from the events at the Overlook Hotel, when his young friend Abra (Curran) is targeted by an evil cult led by Rose the Hat (Ferguson). McGregor is affecting, Curran is impressive and Ferguson is deeply sinister, but jarring imagery and laboured references to The Shining break the spell.