How ‘Doctor Sleep’ Director Mike Flanagan Brought Back Iconic Characters from ‘The Shining’

     November 8, 2019

Director Mike Flanagan takes a number of very big swings with his big screen adaptation of Stephen King‘s sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep. Not only did he set out to make a film that honors both King’s source material and the Stanley Kubrick film – two famously different interpretations of the story – but he also opted to bring a number of characters from that 1980 film back to screen, individuals who are engrained in many movie lovers’ minds in a very specific way.

Most of Doctor Sleep puts the spotlight on an adult Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) who’s a recovering alcoholic trying to rebuild his life in New Hampshire, but Dan’s experience at The Overlook Hotel still weighs heavily on him, and Flanagan opts to depict what life was like for a young Danny immediately after the events of The Shining. That meant recasting young Danny (Roger Dale Floyd), his mother Wendy Torrance (Alex Essoe) and also Dick Hallorann (Carl Lumbly), the Overlook head chef and the first person Dan ever met who could shine like him.


Image via Warner Bros.

How exactly do you go about recasting some of the most iconic characters ever brought to screen? Flanagan was kind enough to break down the casting process and discuss how he approached directing those characters on set for me during our recent interview. On top of that, he also spoke about one very important element of the Doctor Sleep book that he just couldn’t squeeze into the film. You can hear about all of that in the video interview at the top of this article and be sure to keep an eye out for a brief spoiler conversation with Flanagan about a key moment in the third act of the film arriving on early next week.

Doctor Sleep hits theaters nationwide on November 8th. You can give the Collider Video review of the movie a watch right here.

Mike Flanagan:

  • How did he go about recasting iconic characters from The Shining like Dick Hallorann and Wendy Torrance?
  • What kind of notes did he give to the actors playing those characters from The Shining while on set?
  • What was the most difficult thing from the Doctor Sleep book to remove from the film adaptation?

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