Mike Flanagan is the man who took on the very tough task of bringing Stephen King’s follow-up to his classic horror novel, The Shining, to the big screen in Doctor Sleep.
Doctor Sleep is coming out in cinemas tomorrow, on Halloween, which is a pretty good time to release a horror movie. However, before it was released to the general public, Flanagan did a Q&A at the lovely Screen On The Green cinema in Islington, London.
Whilst on stage, the director was asked how he felt when he had to first show the great Stephen King the final cut of the movie, and it turns out it was a rather traumatic experience for the filmmaker.
“It was another constant feeling of nausea,” he began to tell reporters including Small Screen.
He then added: “The two big moments of anxiety for us were sending the script to Stephen [King] the first time and waiting for him to come back and give us the thumbs up to proceed.
“That was scary enough. We actually got to bring the finished movie to Maine and sit next to him in an empty theatre, screening the finished film for him, and trying not to do this [Flanagan mimes looking at Stephen from the corner of his eye] the whole time.”
Stephen King seemed to be pleased with Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep
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Flanagan then revealed that he spent most of the time sitting next to King in that screening room staring at this own foot, and he added that he tried to, “peripherally detect whatever reaction he was having. But it was completely nervewracking.”
He then revealed what King’s reaction was after having seen the film in its entirety, and it sounded like it was quite a sweet moment.
He said: “But at the end of the film, the credits had just come up and he reached over and put his hand on my shoulder and he leaned over and he said, ‘You did a beautiful job.’”
It sounds as if King really appreciated the work Flanagan had put into bringing his novel Doctor Sleep to the big screen, and he even liked the changed they had made to the story.
King had nothing but nice things to say about Doctor Sleep
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Flanagan went on to detail his reaction to King’s kind words and also revealed what the Kubrick estate thought of the film.
“And I just kind of died for a minute, and about the same time that was happening the Kubrick estate was watching the film too, and so there was always this terror that – because both the Kubrick estate and King were really supportive of us, but also stayed away – and Stephen, in particular, is really determined with all his adaptations.
“Once he sends you on your way to do it, he says, ‘Now the book is the book and nothing will ever change that. So the movie should be yours and I’m not going to look over your shoulder. That’s your thing.’”
The Kubrick estate also liked the movie
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Flanagan added: “The terrifying thing about that, as Kubrick discovered, if he doesn’t like what you did, he’s not going to be shy about it, and so there was always thins knowledge while we were off making the film that at the end of this road, Steve’s going to see and the Kubrick estate’s going to see it.
“And we could have done everything right to please Stephen King, and then the Kubrick estate could have said, ‘How dare you have besmirched the legacy of Stanley Kubrick this way’, which would have been just a nightmare,” Flanagan explained.
“But at the end of the day, Stephen King loved the movie and the Kubrick estate loved the movie, completely independent of each other.
“To me, those where the two most important reviews the film would ever get, and that’s when I first started to relax,” the director finished.
Meanwhile, you can read our full review of Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep to find out what we thought of the movie.
Doctor Sleep is out in UK cinemas on October 31st. Are you going to see it? Let us know in the comments below.
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