Stephen King: 'Doctor Sleep' film redeems Stanley Kubrick's 'Shining' adaptation

Key Points
  • Author Stephen King has been very vocal about his discontent for Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall.
  • However, Mike Flanagan's adaptation of "Doctor Sleep" has redeemed Kubrick's film for King.
  • "Doctor Sleep" arrives in theaters on Friday.
Author Stephen King visits the SiriusXM Studios on September 26, 2017 in New York City.
Astrid Stawiarz | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

It's no secret that "The Shining" author Stephen King was not a fan of Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of his novel nearly 40 years ago.

While King is generous with approving adaptations of his works, he has never been one to shy away from giving his honest opinion about the projects. And King was very vocal about his discontent for Kubrick's film starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall.

So, when writer-director Mike Flanagan set out to adapt "Doctor Sleep," King's sequel novel to "The Shining," he had to tread carefully.

"I said, 'Look, I'm a King fanatic, I have been since I'm a kid, you are my hero, but when I read 'Doctor Sleep,' all the images in my head were Kubrick's images,'" Flanagan told Entertainment Weekly.

Flanagan, who previously adapted King's "Gerald's Game," set out to meld Kubrick's movie with "King's novel. This, of course, had its difficulties as Kubrick had left the iconic Overlook Hotel intact at the end of his film and King had famously destroyed it in his novel. The hotel remained destroyed in the "Doctor Sleep" novel.

Still, Flanagan seemed to be able to mesh Kubrick's masterpiece well enough with King's work to garner the approval of the author.

"I read the script to this one very, very carefully," King told EW. "Mike Flanagan, I've enjoyed all his movies, and I've worked with him before on 'Gerald's Game.' So, I read the script very, very carefully, and I said to myself, 'Everything that I ever disliked about the Kubrick version of 'The Shining' is redeemed for me here."

"Doctor Sleep" takes place decades after the events of "The Shining," with Danny Torrance now grown. He has been numbing his psychic abilities with alcohol and is still haunted by the memory of his father. When he meets a young girl who possesses the same gifts that he has, he must protect her from a group of people who seek to kill her and steal her powers.

While the climax of the novel takes place in a park where the hotel used to be, Flanagan painstakingly recreated the interior of the Overlook Hotel for the film in a studio lot in Atlanta, allowing his film to connect to Kubrick's.

"All I can say is, Mike took my material, he created a terrific story, people who have seen this movie flip for it, and I flipped for it, too," King told EW. "Because he managed to take my novel of 'Doctor Sleep,' the sequel, and somehow weld it seamlessly to the Kubrick version of 'The Shining' the movie. So, yeah, I liked it a lot."

"Doctor Sleep" arrives in theaters on Friday.

Read the full interview from Entertainment Weekly.