It appears that Mike Flanagan is not only staying in the horror genre, he’ll continue to tackle Stephen King adaptations. Deadline reports that the Gerald’s Game and Oculus director is now set to direct a Doctor Sleep movie, based on King’s 2013 novel that serves as a sequel to the iconic The Shining. The story picks up with Danny Torrance as a middle-aged adult, who’s now inherited the alcoholism and anger of his murderous father. But when Danny gets sober, his psychic abilities return, and a connection is made to a teenage girl named Abra with psychic powers of her own.
Hollywood has been trying to do something with The Shining for years. A while ago, Never Let Me Go filmmaker Mark Romanek signed on to direct a Shining prequel called Overlook Hotel, which would revolve around the titular hotel. There’s been no public movement on that project, but given the smashing success of last year’s It, there does seem to be renewed interest in Stephen King adaptations—The Dark Tower notwithstanding.
Flanagan will rewrite a script that was previously penned by Akiva Goldsman, the writer of The Dark Tower—so that’s probably for the best. Goldsman remains involved as an executive producer, but Flanagan will produce alongside Trevor Macy and Vertigo Entertainment’s Jon Berg, the former WB exec in charge of the DCEU.
Indeed, Doctor Sleep is being made at Warner Bros., the same studio that spearheaded the R-rated It to $700 million worldwide. Enlisting Flanagan to take charge of Doctor Sleep was a great call, as the filmmaker has been crafting artful, effective, and memorable horror films like the aforementioned Oculus, Hush, the pleasantly surprising Ouija: Origin of Evil, and the long-delayed Before I Wake which is now available on Netflix. Of course Flanagan also already proved he can handle a Stephen King adaptation with Gerald’s Game, which was released on Netflix last year.
This news comes as Warner Bros. is also deep in development on It: Chapter 2 for a 2019 release date, while Sony’s Dark Tower franchise is somewhat in limbo. King adaptations are red hot right now, and a Shining sequel is sure to conjure interest so it’ll be interesting to see how this one shapes up.