As horror fans tragically know, Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep was a pretty big bomb when it was released in 2019. Although the sequel to The shining found its audience and was well received by the audiences that did see it at the time, it was still a pretty big disappointment for the studio. Produced on a reported budget of $45 million, the film made just over $31 million in the US and just $71 million worldwide. To add insult to injury for Flanagan fans, the filmmaker behind Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass had plans for more stories to come from the movie.
Mike Flanagan has previously confirmed plans for a Dick Hallorrann spin-off film. The Overlook hotel chef who befriends Danny Torrance was originally played by Scatman Crothers in Stanley Kubrick’s The shining and played by Carl Lumbly in Doctor Sleep. Flanagan has now revealed more about his plans for the “Hallorann” movie, revealing connections to other Stephen King properties AND how it would have played with The Shining Fans’ expectations.
“I had a great thing about the movie Dick Hallorann, but I was so excited about him as a young guy who started in Derry and had a little bit of overlap with IT,” Flanagan said on the Script Apart podcast. “Because in the canon little Richie Halloran meets Pennywise as a young man. After that it would be very different for him to join the military and end up trying to work in the New Orleans Police Department in a highly segregated police department. and takes on some sort of cousin of the True Knot A killer who specifically targets people who shine, and this big battle right there He was going to win the battle but lose the war and lose the people he cared about and ended up choosing for a quieter life away from it all and take this job of preparing meals at this Colorado hotel.
He continues: “It was going to be great. They open with Carl Lumbly as Dick Halloran cleans up the kitchen and gets ready for winter, because the winter janitor and his family are coming. They say, ‘You’ve got to get ready to take them to meet and show around.’ Then he goes to room 217 and has this weird thing with the bathtub and it flashes back to all things in his life At the end of the story we come back to him in the Overlook and they say the caretakers here He was supposed to come down to meet them in the lobby and you think it’s the Torrance family but it’s not it’s Delbert Grady and his twin daughters and his wife And you realize you see the beginning of That story.”
Flanagan went on to say that despite the film not moving forward, he parted ways with Warner Bros. on good terms. and understood why they chose not to make the movie. However, there was a speed to how quickly the project was scrapped, with the director revealing that “on Monday they were reviewing the box office performance and on Tuesday those (spinoffs) were dead.”
“I understood why they couldn’t move forward with the ones with the box office that we did,” Flanagan added. “It made sense. It was heartbreaking. It made sense. But yeah, that’s all kind of gone.”
Luckily for Flanagan, he has another big sandbox to play in, The Dark Tower universe, having secured the rights to Stephen King’s magnum opus for development as a TV series and feature films.
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