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Will Mark Romanek Follow Kubrick Into the 'Overlook Hotel'? Plus, Read Stephen King's Prequel to 'The Shining'

Thompson on Hollywood By Ryan Lattanzio and Nick Newman | Thompson on Hollywood July 18, 2014 at 2:26PM

Variety reports that Warner Bros. has tapped Mark Romanek to helm their prequel to Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," entitled “Overlook Hotel.” Given the namesake, that's quite a leap of faith.
'The Shining'
'The Shining'

Variety reports that Warner Bros. has tapped Mark Romanek to helm their prequel to Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," entitled “Overlook Hotel.” Given the namesake, that's quite a leap of faith.

Screenwriter Glenn Mazzara (“The Walking Dead”), who has finished a draft, takes the prologue Stephen King -- who aggressively hates Kubrick's mesmerizing 1980 "adaptation" -- cut from his original 1977 novel and fleshes it out to feature-length form. The project looks to be a quasi-horror period piece focused on the origins of the maddening, maze-like Overlook through the eyes of its first owner, Bob T. Watson.

Mark Romanek
Mark Romanek

Watson isn't an alcoholic writer like Jack Torrance, but, rather, a turn-of-the-century robber baron who aspires to start his own legitimate business. Thus, constructs a hotel right in the Rockies -- and, ominously, atop Native American burial grounds (a favorite rabbit hole of true "Shining" obsessives as seen in Rodney Ascher's doc "Room 237").

That's as deep as "Overlook"'s logline goes, but learn more by reading King’s prologue here.

The mercurial Mark Romanek has historically given studio execs and producers hell, dropping out of top-tier projects like "The Wolfman," and a Dan Brown adaptation, sticking to dark-minded, small-scale projects like his original "One Hour Photo" and Ishiguro adaptation "Never Let Me Go." Last year, Romanek washed his hands of Disney's "Cinderella," now directed by Kenneth Branagh. Concessions may be necessary if Warner Bros. -- along with Mythology's James Vanderbilt, Laeta Kalogridis and Brad Fischer -- wants to get "Overlook" off the ground. (There's also talk of a Boston Strangler pic.)

If it happens, "Overlook Hotel" could set a high bar for the adaptation of “Doctor Sleep”; to no one’s surprise, King’s 2013 sequel is also something they’re eyeing. But even if the project founders, Kubrick's untouchable horror classic, like the Overlook itself, will always be here.

This article is related to: Mark Romanek, Stanley Kubrick, News

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.