Exclusive: ‘Doctor Sleep’ Director Mike Flanagan Teases His “More Literary” Director’s Cut

     December 20, 2019


Fans of Doctor Sleep were no doubt enthused to hear yesterday that Warner Bros. will be releasing an extended director’s cut of the Shining sequel on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD, and now we have details on what to expect from the new cut straight from the horse’s mouth. Writer/director Mike Flanagan’s horror film toed an impossible line between staying true to Stephen King’s source material and also serving as a worthy sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s singular film adaptation. He succeeded wildly while also charting exciting and fresh territory all his own, and it sounds like we can expect to see all of the above in the extended version of the film.

We reached out to Flanagan to ask if he could let us in on what to expect from the Doctor Sleep director’s cut, and the Haunting of Hill House filmmaker teased a “more literary” film than the theatrical cut, even revealing that the director’s cut is divided into chapters that give it a unique structure. Flanagan says this is a fully finished version as Warner Bros. allowed him to create the director’s cut with full visual effects, additional score composed and orchestrated just for the extended cut, and a full mix, as he crafted both the director’s cut and theatrical cut at the same time.

doctor-sleep-blu-ray-coverWhile Flanagan was reticent to spoil any of the surprises, he did say the director’s cut has more of Young Danny and Wendy, more of young Abra, and yes, more of the Overlook Hotel. As someone who really loved what Flanagan did with Doctor Sleep I can’t wait to see this extended version of the story.

Check out Flanagan’s full statement below. The Doctor Sleep director’s cut will be released on Digital on January 21st and 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD on February 4th.

I’m really excited that WB let me create this cut, much less release it. They really supported it – to the point that they made sure all of the new material with VFX was fully finished, additional score was composed and orchestrated just for this cut, and we did a full mix as well. They really let us do this right – it’s a finished, complete, fully polished new cut of the movie. Nothing in it is temp.


We shot a LOT of material for this movie, and I always knew it wouldn’t all fit. I was reticent to call this a “Director’s Cut” at first, as I absolutely love and stand by the cut I made for our theatrical release. But there was stuff I actively decided to remove from that cut that I missed, and that I would think about even weeks after the fact. I was elated when Warner Bros. expressed interest in preserving that cut for home video.


There is new material throughout the whole film. Some of it is brand new stuff that was never included in the theatrical cut, and there’s also a handful of extended (or altered) scenes as well. There was never any intention to release this cut theatrically, we always knew it was too long. But we worked on it alongside the theatrical cut throughout post, and it made it a lot easier to make hard decisions in the edit, knowing that some day this cut might see the light of day.


There are some big new scenes, for sure. I don’t want to spoil any of that, but I can say that there is new material throughout (including in the final act at the Overlook). Some of my favorite stuff involved Young Danny and Wendy (there’s some terrific material with Alex Essoe that I’m thrilled is restored here), and will be familiar to fans of the book. There’s also a fair amount of new stuff involving young Abra in the film’s first act, learning about her shine, and how it affects her parents.


And there are some surprises I definitely won’t spoil here.


All in all, I think this cut is more literary than the theatrical cut. It very much feels like reading a novel… and is even broken into chapters, which gave this cut a very fun structure.


I’m very proud of it and so grateful that it’ll be available to fans.

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