ByHolly Emmett, writer at
Film student and full time nerd
Holly Emmett

King has yet another adaptation on the cinematic horizon, as his 2013 sequel to best-selling and hugely popular The Shining is confirmed to be in the works. Doctor Sleep will be arriving to the big screen in the near future, and of course King will be acting as executive producer. Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (Batman and Robin, The Da Vinci Code) will be aiding King in this venture. However, it is currently unknown who will be directing this adaptation, therefore I want to explore who could possibly be acquitted to the role.

Doctor Sleep

Cemetery Dance artwork for Doctor Sleep
Cemetery Dance artwork for Doctor Sleep

King took a rather long break between writing The Shining and Doctor Sleep, however to the delight of his fans (including me) he published the sequel in 2013. The narrative revolves around Danny Torrance as an alcoholic adult who is still haunted by the events that occurred at the Overlook Hotel. When Danny finally takes a long, hard look in the mirror and sees a reflection of what his father used to be, he decides to quit the drunken lifestyle and bargains a new job as a doctor in a hospice for the elderly.

Instead of fighting his "shine," he uses it to help the terrifying transition between life and death for the elderly in the nursing home. Aided by his prescient cat, Azzie, Dan becomes known as "Doctor Sleep." However, Dan finds trouble when a little girl, Abra Stone, contacts him through their ability to shine and tells him of an awful gang known as the True Knot. Fearful for her life, Abra entrusts Dan and a few other friends to help her kill the True Knot and return to a peaceful life.

The Adaptation

Book (left) Film (right)
Book (left) Film (right)

We all know that Kubrick did an outstanding job with his adaptation of The Shining, but unfortunately for us fans he obviously cannot direct the sequel. But it will be a tricky and interesting task for whoever decides to take on the job. For a start, Dick Hollorann dies in Kubrick's adaptation, yet is present at the beginning of King's Doctor Sleep. I wonder if they'll treat it as a direct sequel to the film rather than the novel, which would aid in eliminating problems caused by the differences in the transition from book to film. So, the question on all of our lips: Who is best fitted to portray King's novel appropriately?

Possible Candidates

After reading the book, I've a feeling the film will be a psychological thriller/horror type deal. Therefore, based on that, I've chosen five directors that have made thrillers similar to the style that I feel Doctor Sleep should adopt.

5. Alexandre Aja

Aja did an amazing job with both Mirrors and Horns — two great thriller films. The visual style of both films would suit perfectly to the narrative of Doctor Sleep! He is brilliant at building suspense and that kind of atmosphere is perfect for King's novel. The film would need to be visually awe-inspiring as the description within King's book is near perfect.

4. James Watkins

Director of The Woman In Black, Watkins has a traditional style when it comes to horror films. The traditional style of the haunted house in The Woman In Black is the kind of style that would benefit Doctor Sleep, and he is quite the master of creating an uneasy atmosphere. The villains in the book, The True Knot, would be in great hands if created to look anything like The Woman from Watkins's previous horror.

3. David Fincher

Fincher is notorious for producing amazing thrillers such as Fight Club, Se7en, Panic Room, Gone Girl, therefore he would be a brilliant choice for Doctor Sleep. His visuals are astonishing, and the dark style of Se7en feels like the correct style for an adaptation of such a dark story. Fincher's CGI work would highly improve the visuals of the "shine" that Dan possesses in the book, as a lot of the narrative would rely on great CGI to make it creepy, eerie and incredibly atmospheric.

2. Martin Scorsese

With films such as Shutter Island and The Departed under his belt, Scorsese is no stranger to the thriller genre. Scorsese paces films perfectly, therefore his skill in development would benefit the rather long narrative of Doctor Sleep. Scorsese is a brilliant director that could no doubt make the adaptation a massive success.

1. Christophe Gans

The vision behind Silent Hill, Christophe Gans would also be a great choice to direct the adaptation of Doctor Sleep. Silent Hill is truly terrifying and my god them visuals! Everything about the cinematography, special effects, location and script of Silent Hill is perfect and this style could easily cross over into Doctor Sleep to create a perfect adaptation. Gans is perhaps my favorite choice to direct the adaptation of King's novel due to everything about the style of Silent Hill being perfect for Doctor Sleep.

Who Do YOU Think Would Be Best Suited to Direct the Upcoming Film Adaptation of Doctor Sleep?


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