If you were to go back to all the roundtable discussions we’ve had on the site over the years, every time we needed to pick a director for some dream gig, I almost inevitably always threw Alfonso Cuaron’s hat into the ring. I’ve been a fan of the Mexican director’s work ever since I stumbled across his fantastic Y Tu Mamá También, and my default setting of wanting him to direct just about everything has just been reinforced since then with the individual brilliances of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men and, of course, last year’s Oscar winning masterpiece Gravity.
And it’s probably those same movies that have given Hollywood the same idea. Just days after the news that Cuaron was in talks to return to the world of Harry Potter with the JK Rowling penned spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a rumour has surfaced that Warner Bros may want the director for another film that dabbles in the supernatural (just to much more horrific results).
The usually reliable Schmoes Know is reporting that WB have apparently offered Cuaron the director’s seat on Overbrook Hotel, their long gestating prequel to The Shining, one of the most well known horror films of all time. The offer is apparently of a “yours if you want it” deal, but there hasn’t been a response yet from Cuaron’s camp.
Stanley Kubrick famously adapted Stephen King’s novel of the same name in 1980, with Jack Nicholson playing the lead character of Jack Torrance, a writer and recovering alcoholic who descends into madness after taking a job at the spooky Overlook Hotel. King has actually just recently published a novel, Doctor Sleepless, which deals with what happened after the events of The Shining, but WB are apparently looking to tap into all the creepy events that happened at the Overlook Hotel before the Torrance family arrived.
When speaking to EW early last year about the idea of a prequel, King revealed that there was a prologue cut from his book all about the history of the Overlook Hotel that WB were potentially thinking of using.
Q: There has recently been talk of a movie prequel to The Shining. It’s based on material cut from your novel, about the early history of the Overlook. Warner Bros, which made Kubrick’s film, has been exploring whether there’s another movie in it. How do you feel about that?
A: There’s a real question about whether or not they have the rights to ‘Before the Play,’ which was the prologue cut from the book — because the epilogue to the book was called ‘After the Play.’ So they were bookends, and there was really scary stuff in that prologue that wouldn’t make a bad movie. Am I eager to see that happen? No I am not. And there’s some real question about what rights Warner Bros. does still have. The Shining is such an old book now that the copyright comes back to me. Arguably, the film rights lapse — so we’ll see. We’re looking into that. I’m not saying I would put a stop to the project, because I’m sort of a nice guy. When I was a kid, my mother said, ‘Stephen if you were a girl, you’d always be pregnant.’ I have a tendency to let people develop things. I’m always curious to see what will happen. But you know what? I would be just as happy if it didn’t happen.
I don’t think I’ve ever thought that The Shining needed a prequel, but I must admit, based on King’s description, as well as a few unanswered mysteries from the original tale, there probably is enough material to mine here for a good enough screenplay. At last count, that mining would be the job of Glen Mazzara, most famously known as the showrunner/writer/producer on the last few seasons of The Walking Dead. He will be joined by Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island), Bradley Fischer (Shutter Island and Zodiac producer) and James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man, Zodiac), all three of whom will be producing.
With support as talented as that, I can’t help but be kind of excited at the prospect of what Cuaron could do with this material. Prisoner of Azkaban and Gravity – especially Gravity! – has shown that Cuaron is master when it comes to twisting the thumbscrews of suspense, and I’m sure that he could come up with some rather unnerving scenarios. I’m still not fully 100% convinced that a prequel to The Shining is necessary, but if it’s going to happen, I can’t think of many people more qualified to tackle it than Cuaron.
As we know something more concrete on this, we’ll let you know. I may or may not also set off a large number of fireworks in celebration.
Last Updated: May 23, 2014