Mark Romanek to Direct THE SHINING Prequel OVERLOOK HOTEL

     July 18, 2014


Mark Romanek is in talks to direct The Shining prequel Overlook Hotel for Warner Bros.  According to Variety, former The Walking Dead showrunner Glenn Mazzara recently turned in his draft for the original story.  The script is based on Stephen King‘s prologue to the novel, which was cut from the book prior to publication.  The story takes place at the turn of the 20th century, and focuses on the hotel’s first owner, robber baron Bob T. Watson.  Watson and his family scaled Colorado Rockies to build the grand resort, a place they could also call home.  Things presumably went downhill from there.

Hit the jump for more.

the shining prequel posterIn case you’re unfamiliar with The Shining, it centers on a struggling writer and his family who come to look after the hotel during the off-season, and the Overlook’s evil presence causes him to go insane and violently attack his wife and psychic son.  The celebrated novel was adapted into a classic film by Stanley Kubrick, and King was notoriously unhappy with the adaptation because he felt it strayed too far from the source material.  King had the opportunity to make a new adaptation in 1997 as an ABC mini-series starring Steven Webber.  One is well-remembered and one isn’t.

Either way, part of what makes the story so powerful is the mystery involved.  Nothing is entirely spelled out, which makes the evil even more unnerving.  Evil that can be solved can possibly be defeated, but something random and unpredictable is terrifying.  My concern with a prequel is it might answer questions raised by The Shining and thus lessen the impact of the original, although I doubt anything can diminish Kubrick’s chilling direction.

And if there’s anyone who could possibly come up with a distinct and thoughtful take on the material, it would probably be Romanek, whose past credits include One Hour Photo, Never Let Me Go, and a collection of acclaimed commercials and music videos.  However, Romanek also has a habit of walking off projects in pre-production.  He departed The Wolfman right before filming was about to begin, and then left Cinderella because his take conflicted with Disney’s.  While it’s interesting to think what Romanek might do with Overlook Hotel, I’m not sure if he’ll stick around.  As Variety notes, he’s also attached to Boston Strangler starring Casey Affleck as a detective trying to solve the case of the notorious Boston serial killer in the early 1960s. [Update: The Wrap reports that Romanek is no longer attached to Boston Strangler, so maybe Overlook Hotel will be his next film after all].

Whether Romanek sticks around for Overlook Hotel or not, Warner Bros. seems a little bent on turning The Shining into a trilogy of sorts since they’re also planning to adapted King’s 2013 sequel novel that focused on a middle-aged Dan Torrance.

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  • OscarDiggs

    Mazzara is an excellent writer, so I’m interested.

  • Person

    Good or not, I’m probably not gonna watch this. Matt’s right – most of what makes the Shining so amazing/re-watchable is how opaque it is, and I honestly don’t want those questions answered by anyone other than maybe Kubrick.

    • JCubs79

      Agreed. The Shining is the last movie I’ve watched where I was genuinely scared while I was watching the movie. Part of that was because of the unknown elements about the hotel.

    • Beatific

      Agree. The unknown history adds to the hotel/movie. It’ll be a bit like what the Star Wars prequels did to Boba Fett.

  • DNAsplitter

    I would have loved to have seen what Romanek’s version of The Wolfman would have looked like. Joe Johnson is just not a horror movie director – great at doing period pieces as he’s got a real eye for building sets – but just a bad choice on the studios part.

    • Matt Goldberg

      Actually, a lot of the sets, costumes, etc. you see in that movie are from Romanek. He basically handled all of the pre-production and left as cameras were about to start rolling.

      • DNAsplitter

        Did not know that. Thx. Still would have love to have seen Romanek’s version as I’m sure it would have been more frightning and less action filled IMO.

  • Baby Bella C (

    if Glen Mazzara is part of it then ya i would see it because I love Glen Mazzara’s work

  • appolox

    Um……….why? Just…….why?

  • DoremusJessup

    Oh no. Written by an ex-showrunner from The Walking Dead. I guess that means this movie will have an interesting premise, but nothing at all of consequence will happen for hours and hours….until the end! Where they tease the potential for the sequel (next season).

  • wayne

    The back story and potentially unanswered questions were addressed in King’s “Before the Play,” which, like it or not, is cannon. Kubrick chose to leave the horror in the hotel vague and that’s fine – it’s an excellent movie – but the original novel still exists and contains a lot more back story than made it into the film. It’s not like (assuming, anyway) that writers are just making up their own stories. King wrote it, it exists, and that’s that. (FYI, if you’ve never read “Before the Play,” it’s excellent. You can read it here:

  • r

    Pfft like i want to watch a movie about a guy trying to kill his wife with an axe for two in a half hour

  • jack

    It will be tricky to turn it into a trilogy. The prequel is doable, as it is less connected to the Torrence family. The Doctor Sleep movie, on the other hand, would have to take huge liberties with King’s book to dove tail it in with Kubrick’s vision, much to King’s chagrin. Please have the “Under the Skin” guy direct this…

  • Farrell

    Mark Romanek to Direct THE SHINING Prequel OVERLOOK HOTEL

    Mark Romanek is in talks to direct The Shining prequel Overlook Hotel for Warner Bros.

    So which is it?