Stephen King's literature has been fair game for movie and/or TV adaptations for forty years now (going back to Brian De Palma's Carrie back in 1976) and the author's writing remains as popular a source of inspiration for screenwriters as ever today. Case in point, Hulu has its TV series 11.22.63 based on the King novel of the same name, while movies such as The Dark Tower, It, and Revival - all based on King's books or novel series of the same name - are currently in some stage of active development. Similarly, there have been rumblings over the years about progress being made on a prequel movie to King's The Shining (titled Overlook Hotel) - though that project is not based on any King novel.
King's fans are no doubt aware that the author has written a sequel to The Shining - a book that's titled Doctor Sleep and was published in 2013 - though up to now there hasn't been a whole lot of buzz about either a potential film or TV adaptation of that particular King story. However, it is now being reported that a movie adaptation of Doctor Sleep has begun moving forward, with assistance from an Oscar-winning screenwriter/producer who's no stranger to the world of Stephen King.
Tracking Board is reporting that Akiva Goldsman has been tasked with adapting Doctor Sleep for the big screen for Warner Bros. Pictures, with producers Jon Berg (who's also working on the Tomb Raider film reboot) and Jon Gonda overseeing the project too. Currently, there is no director attached to the project, nor does WB have a firm release date target in mind for the Shining movie sequel.
Goldsman, who picked up his Oscar for penning his frequent collaborator/director Ron Howard's John Nash biopic A Beautiful Mind, has a vast body of genre screenwriting work under his belt - having worked on everything from '90s superhero movies (Batman Forever, Batman & Robin) to post-apocalyptic thrillers (I Am Legend, The Divergent Series: Insurgent) and Dan Brown mystery/thriller book adaptations (The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons). More recently, Goldsman served as a key member of Paramount Pictures' Transformers writing group and co-wrote the upcoming Dark Tower film, in addition to the Ring sequel Rings that's now scheduled to arrive this fall.
Doctor Sleep, for those unfamiliar, picks up with The Shining's Danny Torrance as a middle-aged man, who has spent much of his adult life as a drifter - haunted by not only the disturbing supernatural entities that he encountered at the Overlook Hotel, but also the memory of his father's violent (and alcoholic) behavior. Danny then manages to find some semblance of peace by working at a nursing home located in New Hampshire, where he uses his remaining "shining" abilities to comfort his dying patients - with the help of a prescient cat - and in turn earns himself the nickname "Doctor Sleep". Of course, trouble eventually comes knocking when Danny forms a psychic connection to a twelve-year old girl named Abra, who is being hunted by a semi-immortal tribe of murderous paranormals that is known as the True Knot.
The prospect of The Shining getting both a movie prequel and film sequel in the foreseeable future no doubt sounds excessive and unnecessary to some, though a film adaptation of Doctor Sleep could function more like a standalone project, if handled well - and Overlook Hotel is likewise being designed as a story that can stand on its own, according to the creative talent behind the film. Other recent continuations of touchstone horror/thriller properties have admittedly seen mixed results in that regard, with A&E's Psycho-prequel TV series Bates Motel having successfully carved out its own unique identity, while the network's The Omen sequel TV series Damien has yet to find its footing, by comparison.
Goldman's writing resume is similarly all over the place in terms of quality, so it will be difficult to get a good read on Doctor Sleep until a director is formally attached to this particular Stephen King movie adaptation. Moreover, of the two Shining-based projects in development, Doctor Sleep appears to have a better chance of actually making it to the big screen in the foreseeable future - what with it being based on published material - even though Overlook Hotel has a head-start on it, as far as development goes.
We'll bring you more information on Doctor Sleep as it becomes available.
Source: Tracking Board