‘Shining’ Prequel Is “Completely Its Own Film”, Says James Vanderbilt

     October 5, 2015


The Shining is a masterpiece. It’s not just one of the best horror films ever made, it’s hands down of the best films ever made period. That is due in large part to having an exacting filmmaker like Stanley Kubrick behind the camera, making the Stephen King adaptation wholly his own, and it’s a testament to the brilliant filmmaking on display that it remains one of the medium’s scariest films 35 years after its release. But it’s also for these reasons that the prospect of Hollywood making a prequel movie makes many folks wary.

A huge sigh of relief arrived, however, when it was announced that Never Let Me Go and One Hour Photo director Mark Romanek would be taking the helm. He’s a filmmaker known for having a very specific vision—not unlike Kubrick—and while at times that has led to him and the studio parting ways (see: The Wolfman and Cinderella), the results of the films he does make are so good that even the possibility of his version of this Shining prequel coming to fruition is exciting.

Steve recently sat down with screenwriter James Vanderbilt to discuss his directorial debut Truth, and during the course of the conversation Vanderbilt also discussed the status of the Shining prequel (which he’s producing), titled Overlook Hotel, explaining how it’s not the kind of movie people might be expecting:


“You want a real filmmaker like Mark doing it… Honestly I think people will really be excited about it, because it’s not like ’20 Years Before The Shining!’. I don’t want to give too much away about the story but the way [screenwriter] Glen [Mazzara] cracked it and the way Mark has sort of cracked it, it’s completely it’s own film, which I think is super smart. It’s not like, ‘When Scatman Crothers was young, he…’ it’s not that.”

the shining prequel posterIt’s unclear what the story of the movie will be, but it certainly sounds like it may only be tangentially connected to Kubrick’s original—which is the way to go. I want to see a terrifying haunted house story directed by Mark Romanek, not something that’s tripping over itself to remind audiences of The Shining.

The project remains in development at Warner Bros. and while we haven’t gotten a start date just yet, Vanderbilt certainly seems high on the take they have, heaping praise on Romanek’s sensibilities as a filmmaker:

“One of the things that’s amazing about [Mark] is that he’s a strong filmmaker with his own convictions, and Mark is gonna make the movie Mark is gonna make… I think there’s something wonderful about a director who says, ‘No, this is the film.’ Fincher was the same way. It’s like, ‘This is the movie I wanna make. If you don’t wanna make that movie, that’s totally cool, then we won’t make the movie.’ And now as someone who’s directed a film, that’s kinda what you want. You want the captain of the ship to be like, ‘I know what the film is, I know how to make it, let’s go do it.’”

Romanek was previously attached to helm Disney’s Cinderella live-action reboot before departing over creative differences, and while he hasn’t directed a movie since 2010’s Never Let Me Go, we’ll get to see new Romanek work soon—he directed multiple episodes of Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter’s upcoming HBO series Vinyl. Here’s hoping Overlook Hotel comes together sooner than later and we get a new Mark Romanek film in theaters in the next couple of years.

Look for our full interview with Vanderbilt soon.


Image via Warner Bros.

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