“Hot” off his well-reviewed feature debut The Vigil, up-and-coming genre filmmaker Keith Thomas has been tapped to direct an adaptation of Stephen King‘s classic sci-fi thriller Firestarter for Universal, Blumhouse and Akiva Goldsman‘s Weed Road banner, Collider has learned.
Scott Teems (Halloween Kills) is adapting King’s book, which follows a young girl with pyrokinetic abilities who is abducted by a secret government agency that wants to harness her powerful gift as a weapon.
Drew Barrymore starred in the original 1984 movie, which boasted a top-notch cast including Martin Sheen, George C. Scott, Art Carney, Louise Fletcher, Heather Locklear, and David Keith, who played the girl’s father. Sources say that Universal and Blumhouse are looking to cast a name in that role, but when it comes to casting, the only suggestion I have is for the young lead — Julia Butters, from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. She’s got the chops, that’s for sure.
Jason Blum and Oscar winner Goldsman will produce the new take on Firestarter, while Martha De Laurentiis will executive produce the film, having served as an associate producer on the original movie. The remake reunites Blum and Goldsman for the third time following the Paranormal Activity franchise and the Frank Grillo–Anna Torv movie Stephanie.
King’s books have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide, and while I can’t say I loved the recent Doctor Sleep adaptation, or It: Chapter 2 for that matter, I can say that I have an educated feeling that the upcoming HBO series The Outsider will be as good as it looks, though I can’t say anything more at this time. Sorry! As for Firestarter, it’s one hell of a story, and Blum must’ve been quite impressed by The Vigil to have entrusted Thomas with one of King’s most terrifying works.
Update: Shortly after we posted this story, Variety reported that is, indeed, the case, and that Blumhouse has even acquired domestic distribution rights to The Vigil, so stay tuned for release details.
Rooted in Jewish culture and mysticism, The Vigil is a supernatural horror film set in a unique world — the Hasidic community of “Boro” Park, Brooklyn. It follows a man providing overnight watch to a deceased member of the community who finds himself battling a malevolent entity. The film was produced by Raphael Margules and JD Lifshitz from BoulderLight Pictures, who Blum has expressed admiration for on social media. Clearly, Blum respects the duo’s taste, so I wonder if they put in a good word for Thomas, who replaces Fatih Akin (In the Fade) on the project.
Thomas is represented by CAA, Circle of Confusion and attorney Peter Sample at Jackoway Tyerman. Blumhouse has Black Christmas in theaters now, and to watch John Rocha and Perri Nemiroff‘s video review of the PG-13 slasher movie, click here.