Book-to-Film: Doctor Sleep

Synonymous with horror and suspense, it is understandable why Stephen King is the king of creepy. His 1977 book, The Shining, was an immediate success despite publishers warning him he may be writing himself into a corner as only a “horror writer”. King relished the compliment and never looked back.

As someone who has felt unusual vibes in various hotels, I can relate to King’s real-life experiences from his stay at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado in 1973. The one night he and his wife spent there was so intense he not only has never been back, but he was able to garner everything he needed for his next novel. This book, unlike his previous Carrie,   or Salem’s Lot, was written and sent off to his publisher in under four months.

The novel, first published in 1977, became an immediate success. Horror was a growing genre with the film adaptation of King’s previous novel, Carrie, having just been released among numerous other notable books and films. During this period, films like Exorcist, The Hills Have Eyes, and Audrey Rose were released. It was only natural The Shining would join the growing canon. Upon the success of the film adaptation, it was clear King had found his niche’.

Ironically, he was one rejection letter away from tossing the whole “writing career” thing in the trash when his wife encouraged him to keep at it. He had struggled for years, having his manuscript for Carrie rejected thirty or so times, to get his foot in the door. Well.. Here’s Stephen!

The longevity of both the novel and film of “The Shining” has led to countless people asking King whatever happened to little Danny Torrance. In 2013, King answered that question with resounding applause in his follow-up novel, Doctor Sleep.  If you haven’t read it yet, make sure you do.

In 2016, Warner Bros. optioned the screenplay for “Doctor Sleep”. They slated it with a tentative release date of January 2020. Mark your calendars. Mike Flannigan (“Before I Wake” and “The Haunting of Hill House”) is set to direct, while Ewan McGregor (“Star Wars”) will be playing Danny, now middle-aged. Before finalizing McGregor  for the lead, Dan Stevens, Chris Evans, Matt Smith and Jeremy Renner had met with Flannigan for the lead role. McGregor won the role, with Stephen King’s blessing.