Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuarón was recently rumored to be Warner Bros.’ top choice to direct the studio’s developing movie prequel to The Shining, Overlook Hotel; as exciting as those claims were, however, it was Cuarón himself who put a damper on that idea, when he revealed his plans to take a break – after the exhausting, but rewarding, process of making Gravity. On the plus side, though, we now have news of WB being in proper talks with another intriguing candidate to direct Overlook Hotel.
Variety is reporting that filmmaker Mark Romanek has entered negotiations to reach a deal for him to call the shots on Overlook Hotel, drawing from the most recent script draft penned by Glen Mazzara (a former show-runner on The Walking Dead TV series). Mazzara’s script is reported to be loosely based on author Stephen King’s original prologue to his Shining novel – essentially, a short origin story for the infamous Overlook Hotel – that was abandoned prior to the book’s publication back in the late 1970s.
Romanek had a strong music video background – where he collaborated with Madonna, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Weezer, among others – before he broke out properly on the movie scene with the Robin Williams drama/thriller One Hour Photo in 2002 (though Romanek made his feature debut, Static, back in 1985). He’s something of a Hollywood outsider, though Romanek did helm the abandoned Locke & Key TV series pilot and was lined up as helmsman on Disney’s live-action Cinderella feature, before he stepped away and was replaced by Kenneth Branagh.
The idea of Cuarón directing Overlook Hotel sounded especially promising to many film geeks, since his stylistic tendencies – particularly his sequence shots/extended tracking shots – could’ve made the movie a continuation of not just the narrative, but also the technical approach of Stanley Kubrick’s famous Shining adaptation. Romanek is an intriguing choice to direct Overlook Hotel for similar reasons, as he tends to favor a more removed and coldly-observational form of visual storytelling – one that recalls Kubrick’s techniques, no less (see: Romanek’s direction on the bleak sci-fi drama Never Let Me Go).
Of course, Overlook Hotel probably holds little to no interest for those who’d rather maintain the mystery surrounding the place that drove Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance insane in Kubrick’s adaptation of King’s book. Still, there have been prequel-ish stories explored in recent years that’ve formed identities distinct enough to set them apart from their predecessors (be it the Hannibal TV show or the Alien film Prometheus). There’s likewise potential for Overlook Hotel to be an effectively disturbing and rich work of horror on its own terms, Shining connections aside.
We’ll continue to keep you up to speed on development concerning Overlook Hotel.