All these prequels/remakes and no originality makes Hollywood a dull boy…
In Hollywood, when a classic movie is simply too untouchable to even consider a remake (and by the way, that unwritten rule seems to become less important with each passing year) – they will instead go the prequel or sequel route. It’s less controversial that way, makes people a little less angrier. Producers can use the excuse of “expanding the universe to explore new themes and ideas”, which occasionally can be true (Prometheus… though that movie was actually hurt by existing in the same universe as Alien) but most often it doesn’t wash and it’s simply a remake by another name.
Think the recent prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing which rather farcically ended up with the same title as Carpenter’s film and was more or less the same movie that it might as well have been a remake!
Now it looks like Warner Bros could be about to send us back to the Overlook hotel in their latest attempts to butcher a classic rather than take a risk on something “new”.
The LA Times reports that the studio are “exploring the possibility” of developing a prequel to The Shining, the classic 1980 Stanley Kubrick horror that is one of the defining movies genre and one of the greatest films ever made. Kubrick consciously played it loose with Stephen King’s 1977 novel (much to the disdain of the author!) and crafted a mindbending chillfest that left audiences shaken to the core three decades ago and a little like Alien released a year earlier, left many of us still trying to work out its mysteries long after our fifth or sixth viewing. There’s a documentary that played at Sundance earlier this year titled Room 237 that has fans still exploring the hidden meanings and the depth of the film.
Mysteries that the new film would doubtless answer disappointingly…
The proposed prequel would naturally explore the events of what happened at the Overlook Hotel before temporary caretaker Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson), his wife and their psychic son checked in to look after the isolated grounds during an off season. Torrence has never been their before… or has he?
Shutter Island writer Laeta Kalogridis and her producing partners Bradley Fischer and James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man & Zodiac writer) are named as the producers but the idea is said to be at the very early stages and the project is “not even formally in development”. In other words – they are just throwing out ideas.
Importantly though, Kalogridis and Vanderbilt have the kind of credentials that could convince WB to go ahead with the movie if they have a strong enough pitch. Kalogridis’ macabre adaption of Shutter Island was a modern classic and she also has clout from working as an uncredited writer and exec producer on Avatar) and Vanderbilt has most recently found success in rebooting the Spider-Man franchise.
The timing of the whole project is curious as Stephen King announced in 2009 that he was working on a sequel book to The Shining called “Doctor Sleep” that would follow a now grown-up Danny Torrence working as an orderly in a NYC hospital and who helps terminally ill patients pass away with his psychic powers. That is due to be released in the next few years. We figured WB would have waited to adapt that book if they wanted to explore this universe again but clearly we were wrong.