Oh, Uncle Stephen, you had us at pirate vampires. Stephen King has confirmed longstanding rumors that he's working on a sequel to 'The Shining' called 'Dr. Sleep.' The book will feature a now-middle-aged Danny Torrance, a hospice full of dying patients, and, yes, those aforementioned pirate vampires -- a tribe of buccaneers who suck up psychic energy instead of blood from clairvoyants like Danny. Naturally, we're not only breathless with anticipation for the book, but also for the inevitable movie version. In an effort to get a jump on 'Dr. Sleep: The Movie,' Moviefone has a bevy of suggestions for casting and directing that will ensure the movie will be a worthy follow-up to the classic 1980 Stanley Kubrick take on 'The Shining.'
On Wednesday, King confirmed news of 'Dr. Sleep' on his website, some two years after he'd first hinted at plans of a 'Shining' sequel. Over the weekend, in an appearance at George Mason University, King discussed the book and read a passage from it. He said he'd always wondered what happened to 'The Shining's haunted, psychic child after he grew up, and that he finally decided to figure that out by writing a sequel. In the yet-unfinished 'Dr. Sleep,' Danny is now a 40-year-old man working in a hospice, where he uses his gift to ease dying patients over to the other side. King explained:
This kinda goes back to: what';s the worst thing that you can think of?... I knew that there were bad people in this story that were like vampires, only that what they sucked out was not blood, but psychic energy from special people like Danny Torrance. And I came to realize that these people were called The Tribe and that they move around a lot, and that their leader is a woman who calls herself Rose the Hat. They all have these kinda pirate names, because pirates is sort of what they are.
There's no publishing date in place yet, much less a movie deal, but c'mon, you know there'll be a film version. After all, there's been a film version of nearly every other King title, and many of those King movies were made by ace directors -- Kubrick, David Cronenberg, Rob Reiner, Frank Darabont, Taylor Hackford -- and are considered classics. Of course, King was famously unhappy with Kubrick's version of 'The Shining,' so much so that he produced a TV miniseries version that he felt was more faithful to the book. Still, the best way to keep King and his legions of fans happy is to make sure top-notch people are attached to the big-screen adaptation. Some names to consider...
• Edward Norton. Think of him as the tormented, split-personality killer in 'Primal Fear' or the sleepless, hollow-eyed protagonist of 'Fight Club.' This shouldn't be a stretch.
• Michael Shannon. Seen him on 'Boardwalk Empire' lately? He does haunted and dangerously obsessive very well, something he expands on in this week's 'Take Shelter.'
• Philip Seymour Hoffman. He's already played a part like this in 'Magnolia,' only with a plague of frogs instead of pirate vampires. Plus, dude can do pretty much anything.
• Michael Fassbender. He can be menacing (see him as Magneto in 'X-Men: First Class,'), but as his Mr. Rochester in 'Jane Eyre' proves, he can glower and brood magnificently.
• Elijah Wood. In case the filmmakers want to play up the saucer-eyed, child-man aspects of the character, they should look to Frodo.
• David Cronenberg. Yes, he's already done a Stephen King movie. Of course, 'The Dead Zone' was 30 years ago, and he's only gotten better with age.
• Alfonso Cuarón. The first-rate fantasy director who introduced us to the Dementors in the 'Harry Potter' saga shouldn't have much trouble with psychic energy-sucking vampires.
• Gore Verbinski. He knows his pirates. Plus, his first name is Gore -- he should be directing nothing but horror movies.
• Kathryn Bigelow. Back before she was an Oscar-winning, all-war-movies-all-the-time director, she made a gem of a vampire movie, the too-little-seen 'Near Dark.' She should take another crack at horror.
• Sam Raimi. After he finishes 'Oz: The Great and Powerful,' the erstwhile 'Evil Dead' and 'Spider-Man' director will have a lot of time on his hands. He's a horror innovator, and he's obviously very comfortable with sequels.
H/T to Slashfilm and The AV Club.
Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.
Photo credits: Warner Home Video ('The Shining'), AP (Michael Shannon), Focus Features (Michael Fassbender), FilmMagic.com (David Cronenberg)