Stephen King discussed the impetus behind his 2013’s novel, Doctor Sleep, the sequel to his 1977 novel The Shining, which has been adapted into a film of the same name that opens on November 8th. Director Mike Flanagan and Ewan McGregor joined King for a behind-the-scenes interview for Entertainment Weekly.
“I always wondered what happened to Danny when he grew up,” King says of the young character with psychic powers at the center of his book The Shining and later adapted into the 1980 Stanley Kubrick-directed film. “And I felt I had a story to tell.”
Flanagan, who said he was unprepared and never the same after watching The Shining at a slumber party, explained that for Doctor Sleep, an adult Danny Torrance continues to be haunted by what took place at the Overlook Hotel all those years ago. “‘The shining’ refers to psychic ability, the people who actually affect the physical world with their thoughts, read the minds of others,” he says. “Danny is so traumatized by what he’s been through, he has no idea how to deal with this.”
King said what he wanted to see conveyed in the film is a man who was at the end of his rope. “You can’t really recover until you’ve finally reached your bottom,” he says. “And I wanted to see that in Dan on the screen.”
The clip weaves their interviews in between footage from the film. In one scene, the adult Danny, portrayed by McGregor, is chugging liquor from a bottle. “Dan Torrance’s philosophy early on in the story is not to use ‘the shining,'” McGregor explains. “He’s drunk to suppress the horrible visitations, the spirits that are from the Overlook Hotel.”
Doctor Sleep costars Rebecca Ferguson, Jacob Tremblay and Kyliegh Curran.