Doctor Sleep Director Reveals Stephen King Didn’t Want The Movie To Be Made At First

Doctor Sleep is out in cinemas across the UK today, which is pretty good timing considering it’s Halloween, and that’s the perfect time of the year to release a spooky movie, especially one based on a Stephen King novel.

Doctor Sleep’s director, Mike Flanagan, was speaking about the movie at a recent Q&A held at the wonderful Screen On The Green cinema in Islington, which is in East London just in case you were interested to visit it.

During this conversation, which took place before the film was screened to members of the press, including Small Screen, Flanagan revealed how they convinced King to let them make the movie since the author’s initial response was a pretty firm no.

Flanagan started off by explaining that if King had said no, the would have made the film because his blessing was an essential part in making sure the movie was on the right track.

Stephen King didn’t want Doctor Sleep to be made into a movie

Doctor-Sleep-ewan mcgregor stephen king

Ewan McGregor as Dan Torrence in Doctor Sleep (Credit: Warner Bros.)

Read more: Doctor Sleep’s Director Reveals Stephen King’s Reaction To The Movie

However, Flanagan went on to reveal how the got the famous horror writer on-board, and it had to do with his pitch.

“If he [Stephen King] had said no, we wouldn’t have done it. We wouldn’t have made the film,” Flanagan began.

He added: “You guys are about to see what we pitched him that made him say yes, because his initial reaction was no. His initial reaction was he did not want to go back there.

“But, there’s a specific scene – you’ll know it when it happens – towards the end of the film, and that scene is the one that once we put that out there and said, ‘What if this happens? If we get to go back to the Overlook, and it’s the Overlook we all know, what if this happens?’

“And, he thought it over and came back and said, ‘OK, do that.’ And without that blessing, we never would have done this. Never,” he finished.

Stephen King liked the movie

Rebecca Ferguson is great, but can't do much with a poor script in Doctor Sleep

Rebecca Ferguson is great, but can’t do much with a poor script in Doctor Sleep (Credit: Warner Bros.)

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I won’t go into specifics on what the scene was which convinced King a Doctor Sleep movie would be a good idea, but I will say that it takes place towards the end of the film, and it’s certainly got a lot of people talking.

Flanagan’s film, Doctor Sleep, is an adaptation of King’s book, which is itself a follow-up to his hugely successful novel, The Shining.

Yet, it’s also a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s film, The Shining, which was based on King’s book, yet the director changed a lot of stuff from the source material.

King’s reaction to Kubrick’s work was not positive at all. In fact, King disliked the movie so much that he went and remade The Shining, and it’s safe to say that Kubrick’s version is the film which has stood the test of time.

This, however, meant that Flanagan was in the tricky position of trying to please two camps: Stephen King on one side, and the Kubrick estate on the other.

Then, you’ve also got to think about the fans of the book and the fans of the movie. Flanagan had an impossible task, yet he revealed later on during the same Q&A that both King and the Kubrick estate’s reaction to Doctor Sleep was positive.

The Kubrick estate also loved Doctor Sleep

Redrum is back in Doctor Sleep

Redrum is back in Doctor Sleep (Credit: Warner Bros.)

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“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,” Flanagan told press including Small Screen during the Q&A.

He then revealed what King’s reaction was after having seen the film in its entirety, and it sounded like he liked what he had seen.

Flanagan 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.’”

The director also added that the Kubrick estate enjoyed the film, saying: “But at the end of the day, Stephen King loved the movie and the Kubrick estate loved the movie, completely independent of each other.”

Doctor Sleep is out in UK cinemas now, and you can check out our full review of the movie to find out what we thought of it.

Will you be going to see Doctor Sleep in cinemas? Let us know in the comments below.

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