There will be a prequel to The Shining and Glen Mazzara is writing it.
Deadline first reported this news on Thursday and here I am still putting together the plethora of thoughts crowding my brain on the subject. Do we really need a prequel to Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece? We may, we may not. Being a huge fan of the film, I’m struggling with my own mixed feelings on the subject. My knee jerk reaction to the idea of a prequel to The Shining is, “Woohoo! Hell yeah! Let’s do this!” But then I stop and remember I had the same knee jerk response when they first announced Star Wars Episodes 1 – 3.
I suppose it’s the perfect time, if ever there was one, to put a project like this in motion. The Shining is back in the public’s consciousness now more than it has been since…oh I don’t know….that horrible Stephen King miniseries from the 90s?
We currently have the awesome Stanley Kubrick retrospective exhibit at LACMA. While the area designated to The Shining was the one I spent the most time at, this exhibit is a must for any appreciators of film. The exhibit ends June 30th, so if you’re in the Los Angeles area and have yet to get down to the museum, I suggest fixing that right quick!
Then there’s Rodney Ascher’s documentary Room 237 that tackles four different (and bizarre) theories of what The Shining was really about. From the Native American Holocaust to Stanley Kubrick’s hand in faking the moon landing footage, this film is definitely worth viewing if for no other reason than to look at the movie through a different gaze than your own.
Let’s not forget Stephen King’s much anticipated literary sequel to The Shining, titled Doctor Sleep. This book has been in the works for some time and follows adult Danny Torrance through some now shenanigans and whatnot. The book is slated for a September release.
It’s no secret that King is not a fan of Kubrick’s take on the original book and he expressed his thoughts a few months back to Entertainment Weekly regarding the concept of a prequel.
EW “There has recently been talk of a movie prequel to The Shining. It’s based on material cut from your novel, about the early history of the Overlook. Warner Bros, which made Kubrick’s film, has been exploring whether there’s another movie in it. How do you feel about that?”
SK “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. 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.”
So here comes Warner Bros to disappoint Stephen King with the resurrection of last year’s prequel idea. The current title for the project is The Overlook Hotel and The Walking Dead’s former showrunner, Glen Mazzara, is in final negotiations to write the script.
Now, this leads to speculation. If the story is to focus on the history of The Overlook Hotel, what exactly will that cover? Do we get to see the woman in Room 237 before she got all gross and dead? Will Lloyd the bartender make a return? I can only imagine we’ll be dealt a few party scenes in the hotel’s Gold Room where Jack Torrance partied with ghosts from the 1920’s. And what about Dick Hallorann? Eh… I believe, if anything, this prequel will probably delve into the life of caretaker Delbert Grady and show us how he went mad before he killed his family (Spoiler?).
Like I said earlier, I’m not quite sure if we need this but I said the same thing to the concept of a Bates Motel and Hannibal TV show and I’ve since eaten my words on the subject. Glen Mazzara is a pretty decent writer. He helped make The Shield one of the best television shows to grace basic cable and pushed this past season of The Walking Dead into record ratings numbers. So, who knows? This may just be worthwhile (I’m trying to be optimistic here). But without the genius eye of Stanley Kubrick behind the lens and with a disappointed Stephen King shaking his head at the notion, we may all just need to take a step back and have a drink.
Hair of the dog, Lloyd.
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