Originally, Stephen King’s 1977 novel “The Shining” featured both a prologue and an epilogue titled “Before the Play” and “After the Play” respectively. Both were excised from the final draft of the book, “Before the Play” only seeing release in a 1982 issue of Whispers magazine and later as an abridged story in TV Guide. “After the Play” is yet to be seen as King claims it’s lost. According to Deadline, former “Walking Dead” showrunner Glen Mazzara is set to write an adaptation of “Before the Play” titled “The Overlook Hotel” for Warner Bros, and the usually adaptation-friendly King ain’t too pleased.
King, who is set to release a “Shining” follow-up called “Doctor Sleep” told EW that he’s uncertain if WB — the company behind the original “Shining” flick — even has the rights to “Before the Play.” He said:
There’s a real question about whether or not they have the rights to ‘Before the Play,’ which was the prologue cut from the book — because the epilogue to the book was called ‘After the Play.’ So they were bookends, and there was really scary stuff in that prologue that wouldn’t make a bad movie. Am I eager to see that happen? No I am not. And there’s some real question about what rights Warner Bros. does still have. The Shining is such an old book now that the copyright comes back to me. Arguably, the film rights lapse — so we’ll see. We’re looking into that.
But would King, who is no fan of the Kubrick classic, put the kibosh on the production of “The Overlook Hotel”? He said:
I’m not saying I would put a stop to the project, because I’m sort of a nice guy. When I was a kid, my mother said, ‘Stephen if you were a girl, you’d always be pregnant.’ I have a tendency to let people develop things. I’m always curious to see what will happen. But you know what? I would be just as happy if it didn’t happen.
It’s quite apparent that WB saw the success of A&E’s similarly-titled “Bates Motel” and figured prequels to horror classics are in. I’m happy King’s not happy about this. While I don’t agree with his opinion about “The Shining” movie (and think his TV version is dreadful), I understand why he’s reluctant to sign off on another take on his book. “The Shining” is one of King’s most personal stories, exploring the effects of the writer’s alcoholism on his family. It must be hard to watch someone take that into a different direction, even when that direction might be completely brilliant. And now, simply milking it because “the market” dictates it be milked, must be incredibly frustrating.
“Doctor Sleep” is out on September 24th, 2013.