Stephen King has been on an absolute roll lately. With recent smash hit adaptations like It, Gerald’s Game, and even a TV series, Castle Rock, it seems like there’s a new King adaptation every week. But hey, I’m not complaining, especially when the latest of these adaptations is the long-awaited sequel to The Shining. Doctor Sleep takes off years after the end of The Shining, and while many thought it would be impossible to make an adequate sequel to such a great book, King proved them all wrong.
Here are 32 facts about Doctor Sleep that you should know before buying your ticket.
1. Award Winner
Doctor Sleep won a Bram Stoker Award for best novel. It remains to be seen what kind of awards the film might get, though reviews are positive.
2. Let’s Take a Vote
Before beginning writing Doctor Sleep, King took a poll on his website. He asked his fans if he should write the sequel to The Shining or the next instalment of his wildly popular Dark Tower series. The poll spoke, and Doctor Sleep was born.
3. Back For Seconds
The Doctor Sleep film’s director, Mike Flanagan, is no amateur when it comes to directing horror. His other works include Oculus, The Haunting of Hill House, and an adaptation of another King book, Gerald’s Game.
4. Double Sequel
Flanagan has stated that his version of Doctor Sleep is a sequel to the film version of The Shining as well as the novel. A few key things have been changed from novel to film because of this, to appease fans of both. This includes the presence of the Overlook Hotel, which burned down in the novel but remained standing in Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining.
5. The King’s Blessing
King was not very pleased with Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining. He hated the changes made to the film, and even went so far as to co-produce and write his own miniseries of The Shining because of it. This time around, however, King has given Flanagan the OK to make changes.
6. Details, Details, Details
The crew worked painstakingly to recreate the Overlook Hotel as accurately as possible when compared to The Shining. They even got the famous axe-hole in the door to look the same!
7. Kubrick Cloned
Audiences loved that the Doctor Sleep trailer looked very Kubrick. Many thought scenes from The Shining were used in the trailer, but in fact, only one shot from the first film is used in it: The hallway filling with blood. Everything else is Flanagan and his crew’s work.
8. Boo Jump Scares
Jump scares are a love ‘em or hate ‘em trend in horror movies, and Flanagan recognizes that. That’s why he chose to not film the movie like, well, a horror movie. He said: “We used a lot of the lessons that Kubrick taught us about how to do a psychological thriller, a supernatural thriller, in a way that is more about suffocating atmosphere and tension than it ever is about the kind of traditional scares.”
9. The Big Day
Sure, it's spooky enough, but Doctor Sleep isn't quite a Halloween movie, getting a release date of November 8, 2019. Maybe they didn't want to tread on Michael Myers' territory?
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10. Thank the Dancing Clown
After the release and smash success of Stephen King's It in 2017, Warner Bros. fast-tracked the Doctor Sleep adaptation into production. Before that, the script had been floating around without a budget since 2014. If audiences hadn't loved Pennywise and the Losers Club so much, the film could very well still be nothing more than a script!
Like many Hollywood films nowadays, Doctor Sleep was filmed in the Georgia area, including locations like Stone Mountain, Porterdale, and Atlanta.
12. I’d Stay There
Room 217 is the site of some of The Shining novel's most disturbing chills, but this was changed to Room 237 in Kubrick’s film. Apparently, the manager of the Timberline Lodge thought nobody would want to stay in room 217 if the scene was shot there, so Kubrick used a room they didn't actually have. This caused some arguments on the set of Doctor Sleep over what room number to use.
13. McGregor Knows Best
Ewan McGregor was cast in the role of the grown-up Dan Torrance in Doctor Sleep. Not only does he look the part, but McGregor seems very confident that he knows the character. In an interview, he even joked that he knew more about the character than King himself.
14. You’ve Changed, Man
Timberline Lodge was used for exterior shots of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, but this is not the case in Doctor Sleep. Timberline Lodge has gone through extensive renovations over the years, making it unrecognizable as the Overlook now. Instead, the crew recreated parts of the lodge, like the roof, for their film.
15. The Usual Gang
Flanagan worked with the Newton brothers on the film’s score, a pair with whom he’s worked on every film he’s directed to date. Clearly he places a lot of trust in these guys.
16. Who Needs Order?
If you thought McGregor didn't put the work into his role, fear not: He read both The Shining and Doctor Sleep in preparation for his role. He did, however, read them out of order.
17. The Doctor Is In
The title of the film refers to Dan Torrance’s nickname throughout the story. Dan uses his “shining” to comfort people who are dying, eventually earning him the nickname Doctor Sleep for how he helps them peacefully let go.
18. God Bless Oscar
A cat named Oscar partly inspired King to write his novel. Oscar can allegedly predict when terminal patients are going to die. Since 2015, it’s estimated that Oscar has predicted 100 deaths, laying with patients when they’re usually about two hours from death.
19. A Kingly Sum
Doctor Sleep will be the 12th film adaptation of a King book since 2010—and the 21st adaptation if you include television series as well. People can’t get enough King lately!
20. The Long Watch
The film is 153 minutes long, or two hours and 33 minutes. That’s longer than even the longest version of The Shining, which comes in at 146 minutes.
21. Do It Yourself
Akiva Goldsman, known for penning the Tim Burton Batman movies and I, Robot, among many others, wrote the original script for Doctor Sleep. After the film finally got funding and a director, Flanagan took it upon himself rewrite the screenplay to better fit his vision.
22. Lost Innocence
The film follows Dan Torrance, the son of Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson in The Shining. In Doctor Sleep, Dan has learned to suppress his shining through the use of alcohol. This isn’t the same innocent Danny we saw in The Shining.
23. High Expectations
Film publication BoxOffice has high hopes for Doctor Sleep, predicting the film will gross around $30-million on opening weekend, as long the critics are kind. And with some early reviews saying that the movie is the best King adaptation since The Shawshank Redemption, well, those numbers are looking fairly likely.
24. They’re Back
Dan isn’t the only character from The Shining who will make a return in Doctor Sleep. Dick Hallorann, who saves Danny in The Shining, will return, as well as Wendy Torrance, Dan's mother. However, they will both be played by new actors.
25. Why Not?
The crew for Doctor Sleep painstakingly recreated sets from The Shining—even when it wasn't necessary. They made one character's office look almost identical to the owner of the Overlook Hotel's office, just for fun!
26. Just a Little Off...
The crew busted out all the stops trying to recreate the Overlook's iconic hexagonal carpet, but once the scenes were shot, they made a disappointing realization: It wasn't quite right. Flanagan and his producer looked at the footage, and despite all their work, they both had to admit that the carpet didn't look the exact same as Kubrick's. Worry not, though! They digitally tweaked it in post-production.
27. But Still Pretty Good!
Despite the carpet not being exactly right, they still did a pretty darn good job. Flanagan has said that Toby Emmerich, the chairman of Warner Bros., asked to put the carpet in one of the studio's conference rooms once filming was wrapped.
28. Pick One
Despite making every effort to ensure the Overlook Hotel looked the exact same in Doctor Sleep, getting everything perfect was impossible—literally! When scanning The Shining for details, the crew noticed that Kubrick's film actually uses two different colored typewriters. To keep things simple for their movie, they just picked a color and ran with it (it was the tan one, by the way).
29. Attention to Detail
Flanagan and his team had a big job ahead of them in making the Overlook—but thankfully, Kubrick had been extremely thorough the first time around. The famous director made blueprints for his own set before making The Shining, and his estate gave them to Flanagan to pore over. One fun note about those plans was that they were created before the Room 237 change was made, so they still said Room 217.
30. Why Not Just Get Every Legendary Director's Help?
Kubrick wasn't the only director whose work helped Flanagan out. Steven Spielberg also recreated part of the Overlook for his movie Ready Player One, and Flanagan got to compare notes with him as well. However, the difference was that Spielberg's Overlook was almost entirely CGI, while Flanagan decided to go practical.
31. Here's Danny
Danny Lloyd, the child actor who played Danny Torrance in The Shining, quit acting many years ago—but he decided to step in front of the camera again for Doctor Sleep. He makes a small cameo in the upcoming film. See if you can recognize him!
32. Come Play With Us
Making a movie isn't all hard work. After their meticulously recreated Overlook Hotel sets were complete, the crew built an adult-sized Big Wheel so that they could ride through the halls, just as Danny did in The Shining. I don't know whose childhood dream that was, but I'm sure it was a fun experience nonetheless!