Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep is an adaptation of the 2013 Stephen King novel of the same name. King’s novel is a sequel to his 1977 book The Shining, but it can’t really be called a sequel to the classic 1980 Stanley Kubrick film. In fact, despite the enormous success of Kubrick’s take on King’s work, King himself is not a fan of the adaptation. In an interview with Deadline, for example, King called Kubrick’s take on The Shining “a big, beautiful Cadillac with no engine inside it.”
Without giving it away, there are significant differences between King and Kubrick’s versions of The Shining, but the endings, especially, are very different. Flanagan, as a storyteller, found himself in the position of creating a Doctor Sleep film that would be both satisfying to its author and fans of Kubrick’s movie — not an easy thing to pull off.
If Stephen King’s opinion is anything to go on, Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep is a success at bridging the gap between novel and film. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, King said of Flanagan’s script, “Everything that I ever disliked about the Kubrick version of The Shining is redeemed for me here.” One of Flanagan’s most impressive choices was to bring the original ending of the novel The Shining and adapt it to his film version of Doctor Sleep. It’s thoughtful moves like that which can draw fans of both film and book to Doctor Sleep.
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