As unlikely as it seems, there is something that connects Stephen King and Zac Efron. In recent years, both seem to have been given a renaissance, with King seeing more of his works than ever being adapted for TV and cinema, while Efron blew away audiences in The Greatest Showman and has gone on to take on some pretty meaty roles compared to his bouncy days in High School: The Musical. Now the two are coming together with Efron starring in the new adaptation of Firestarter, King’s 1980 novel which has previously been adapted for screen, and it seems that King has already expressed his feelings about it.
The first translation of the novel to film was made in 1984 by Mark L Lester. The movie was a faithful retelling of the book about a young girl with pyrokinetic abilities and had a strong cast of Drew Barrymore, as the girl in question, Martin Sheen, Art Carney, Louise Fletcher and George C Scott. Although the film told King’s story to the letter, there was just something missing from the telling, and it meant the film fell a little flat. A remake has been in development since 2017 by Blumhouse, but it only started to really move forward last year.
The new adaptation has a script by the co-writer of Blumhouse’s Halloween Kills, and by all accounts it has been given the seal of approval by King. While many authors will happily sing the praises of any old dross based on one of their books, King has always been willing to call out something he doesn’t care for very much – we all know his feelings about Kubrick’s take on The Shining, right? However, like the series of his Mr. Mercedes trilogy, and the recent fantastic take on The Outsider, it looks like so far, King has liked what he has seen from the Firestarter script.
The film shoot is already under way on the movie, and producer Jason Blum spoke to CinemaBlend about the production while on the promotion trail for the upcoming The Forever Purge. With Blumhouse looking to really drive home their love of Stephen King, with a remake of Christine and an adaptation of the short story Mr. Harrigan’s Phone currently in the works, it was while talking about the first of their King films that Blum mentioned speaking with the author about the new version of the movie.
“Firestarter, you know, (laughs) it’s a better book than a movie all those years ago, but it was just such, such a great idea, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. And I wouldn’t want to do it unless, same thing [as The Purge and James DeMonaco], unless – by the way, we couldn’t do it unless – Stephen King was okay with it. But he gave us our blessing, and that gave me the confidence to think, ‘Well, let’s give this a shot.’ So I hope he likes it. He liked the script, so hopefully he’ll like the movie.”
The remake stars Zac Efron in the role played by Martin Sheen in the original, while Ryan Kiera Armstrong plays his daughter, formerly the role of Drew Barrymore. The story sees the pair going on the run from a government agency called The Shop because of the girl’s psychic abilities of pyrokinesis. Hunting them down is psychotic mercenary John Rainbird, played by Michael Greyeyes, who wants the girl for his own means. In typical King fashion, the story builds to its violent conclusion, but as many adaptations of King’s work make some changes to their final reels, we will just have to see how closely this version follows King’s original novel. This comes to us from CinemaBlend.