There’s probably only one thing worse than an unnecessary sequel to a perfectly good film; an unnecessary prequel. ‘The Shining’ is not only a perfectly good film, it’s regarded as a masterpiece by many. Now it’s getting a prequel called ‘The Overlook Hotel’ but it may not turn out as terrible as it sounds, with respected director Mark Romanek on board.
‘The Shining’ was produced and directed by the great Stanley Kubrick in 1980 and was soon hailed, and still is today, as one of the greatest horror films of all time. Although it was based on Stephen King’s novel, the two differ significantly and the author had some qualms with the film but there’s no denying the contribution it made to the horror genre. It showed that evil didn’t have to come from a monster or outer space, it could be inherent in a person’s personality, and that’s the scariest thing of all. Jack Nicholson also happens to be a unique and exceptional actor.
With a prequel in the works, it’s hard to see it being anything other than a disaster considering the predecessor it’s attempting to live up to. However it seems Warner Bros. is taking this story seriously. Based on a prologue by King titled Before the Play, which was deleted from the final copy of the novel, it explores the origin story of the Overlook Hotel through the eyes of first owner Bob T. Watson. It’s certainly a positive that Jack Torrance and his family won’t feature. The studio initially offered the film to ‘Gravity‘ director Alfonso Cuarón but is now in the hands of Mark Romanek, best known for ‘One Hour Photo’ starring Robin Williams and ‘Never Let Me Go’ with Carey Mulligan. Producer James Vanderbilt (responsible for ‘Zodiac’) confirmed that the new film would stand on its own, talking to Collider.
“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.”
While Romanek hasn’t got a lot of major film credits to his name but he’s done a lot of work on music videos and is known for having very specific visions for the art he wants to create. Vanderbilt viewed this as a major attraction when choosing to have Romanek at the helm.
“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.’ 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 has walked away from films in the past because of creative differences so the fact he has the support to do his own thing is a good sign and the premise of the film is solid. It seems more like a spin-off as opposed to a traditional prequel in that it will only be loosely connected to the events of ‘The Shining’, instead focusing on developing its own narrative.
No news yet of who will be cast but the talent already involved suggests it will be an exciting project.