Say what you will about the abundance of remakes churned out by Hollywood studios over the past decade, but the fact remains: Coming up with new ideas for movies is really, really hard. How else could you possibly explain Warner Bros’ nascent plan to create a prequel film to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 masterpiece The Shining?
The LA Times reports:
The studio has solicited the involvement of Hollywood writer-producer Laeta Kalogridis and her partners Bradley Fischer and James Vanderbilt to craft a new take as producers, according to a person familiar with the project who was not authorized to talk about it publicly.
The film would focus on what happened before Jack Torrance (of course played memorably onscreen by Jack Nicholson), his wife and their psychic son arrived at the haunted retreat where Torrance soon descends into violent madness. A WB spokeswoman cautioned that any “Shining” prequel was in a very early stage and not even formally in development.
The Times then goes on to state that Kalogridis could be qualified for the job, given that she wrote the script for Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island.
Okay, that’s all well and good, but we still see three big problems with this concept: The cast, the director and the plot. Who does WB think it could possibly get to play a convincing younger version of Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance? Nicholson might have been able to do it three decades ago, but in 2012 he’s a bit long in the tooth for the role. WB could try to replace him with a younger actor, but then you have some poor twentysomething attempting to fill utterly gigantic shoes created by Nicholson in his prime.
Likewise, what modern director would want to step into Stanley Kubrick’s shadow by helming this prequel? There are maybe three filmmakers in the world who could hope to live up to Kubrick’s pedigree, and we doubt the WB could afford any of them.
Finally, how is this prequel supposed work? By every indication we received in The Shining, Jack Torrance was a pretty normal family man prior to moving into the hotel. Is the prequel going to follow Jack’s day to day routine of working, raising a son and occasionally going for walks with the dog? I suppose the WB could decide that Torrance was a crazy murderer long before his film debut, but if it opts in that direction it would be doing so without the support of Stephen King. King did write a sequel to The Shining, but as far as we know he’s never commented on the early life of Jack Torrance. Thus, this film’s story will be entirely up to Kalogridis (and, let’s be honest, may or may not directly contradict events in The Shining).
As the Times mentioned this deal is in the very early stages so don’t start holding your breath for this flick just yet. That said, we’re hoping to hear more soon. Call it “morbid curiosity.”