Stephen King properties were a hot commodity in 2017, between the remake of It and the Netflix adaptation of Gerald's Game. Now Mike Flanagan (Gerald's Game, Oculus) is talking about another King-related project he would like to take on, Doctor Sleep. Doctor Sleep is a sort of sequel to The Shining, which introduces audiences to a grown-up version of Danny Torrance, the boy who survived the Overlook Hotel.
Stephen King released Doctor Sleep in 2013, but it wasn’t very good. Still, The Shining films have taken on such a massive cult following and it seems to be only a matter of time before Hollywood decides to bring Doctor Sleep into theaters. In a recent interview with Lilja’s Library, Flanagan revealed that the two King adaptations he’d most be interested in making are Lisey’s Story, about an author’s widow, and the Shining sequel Doctor Sleep:
“[T]he ones I’d want to do the most are Doctor Sleep and Lisey’s Story. In both cases, it’s because I identify with the protagonists so much. Lisey’s Story is a stunning piece of work, a beautiful exploration of marriage. And who wouldn’t want to venture back into the world of Danny Torrance?”
Doctor Sleep is set decades after the events of The Shining. The book finds Danny Torrance, all grown-up and dealing with a whole new set of supernatural problems. When the concept of a Shining sequel was announced, fans were initially very excited. But after the book hit shelves it ended up disappointing just about everyone. Here’s the official synopsis of Doctor Sleep:
On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to this icon in the Stephen King canon.
Despite Doctor Sleep not being King's best work, Flanagan bringing it to the big screen might actually work out well. Gerald’s Game wasn’t one of King’s most popular books either, but Flanagan found a way to make it work.
This wouldn't be the first time a Shining spin-off was talked about, back in 2013, a prequel film, The Overlook Hotel, was announced, with One Hour Photo filmmaker Mark Romanek attached to direct. That project has been shelved for years, and its very likely we will never see it.