Would Stephen King approve of a 'Shining' prequel?
Author not sure if Warner Bros. owns the rights
By DonKaye_ParallelUniverse Feb 7, 2013 2:17PM
Even as he prepares to release a sequel to his classic horror novel The Shining, Stephen King is ambivalent about the possibility of a prequel making it to the big screen.
In a new interview with EW.com, King was asked about the rumors that surfaced last year which suggested that Warner Bros. Pictures -- the studio that released Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of The Shining -- had hired a few writers to develop a prequel. The film would explore the history of the notorious Overlook Hotel before Jack Torrance and family moved in as the winter caretakers. King replied:
"There's a real question about whether or not they have the rights to 'Before the Play,' which was the prologue cut from the book -- because the epilogue to the book was called 'After the Play.' So they were bookends, and there was really scary stuff in that prologue that wouldn't make a bad movie. Am I eager to see that happen? No I am not. And there's some real question about what rights Warner Bros. does still have. The Shining is such an old book now that the copyright comes back to me. Arguably, the film rights lapse -- so we'll see. We're looking into that."
Whether or not they have the rights to the deleted prologue, Warner Bros. could probably build a movie around the Overlook's past based solely on the material that actually made it into the novel (of which there is plenty) or, if the studio no longer has the rights to that, some of the imagery that Kubrick used in his film to represent the spirits of long-dead guests who got up to ghastly things at the resort.
But the bigger question is: how would King feel about it? He told EW:
"I'm not saying I would put a stop to the project, because I'm sort of a nice guy. When I was a kid, my mother said, 'Stephen if you were a girl, you'd always be pregnant.' I have a tendency to let people develop things. I'm always curious to see what will happen. But you know what? I would be just as happy if it didn't happen."
This comes as King is getting ready to publish Doctor Sleep, his own sequel to The Shining, this September. The book follows a now adult Danny Torrance, who meets a young girl with the most powerful "shine" he's ever felt and must protect her from a depraved tribe of psychic vampires who live off the energy generated when someone with the "shine" dies a slow, painful death.
Doctor Sleep is the first full sequel King has ever written to one of his previous novels (not including his Dark Tower saga) and we're looking forward to reading it. Perhaps Warner Bros. should abandon the prequel idea (because most prequels are kind of lame anyway) and film King's book -- after it gets done with its other proposed film versions of It and The Stand, of course.
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