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‘Doctor Sleep’ Director Teases His Next ‘Relentlessly Dark’ and ‘Bleak’ Stephen King Movie

Horror filmmaker Mike Flanagan also reveals the one note King had for "Doctor Sleep."

Doctor Sleep

“Doctor Sleep”

Horror filmmaker Mike Flanagan has become Hollywood’s go-to director for adapting Stephen King, thanks to his work on films like “Gerald’s Game” and “Doctor Sleep,” the latter of which bombed at the box office last year but is now gaining more admirers after debuting on HBO Max. Flanagan is staying faithful to the Stephen King universe with his next project, a Warner Bros. adaptation of the author’s 2014 novel “Revival.” During an appearance this week on “The Kingcast” podcast, Flanagan said his “Revival” movie would be his darkest King adaptation yet.

“What I love about it is it’s a return to cosmic horror, which I think is so fun,” Flanagan said (via Digital Spy). “It is relentlessly dark and cynical and I’m enjoying the hell out of that… I haven’t gotten to end a movie [this] way since ‘Absentia,’ maybe? Maybe ‘Ouija’? This one was a really fun piece of material for me because I get to be like, ‘Oh, you want a dark ending? Cool, get ready.'”

Flanagan says his “Revival” movie will not have a “sentimental approach” to the material and will instead be “bleak and mean.” King’s novel centers around a former minister who engages in experimental healing practices. Horrifying consequences abound after a tragic accident causes him to lose his family and renounce his faith. News broke in May that Warner Bros. had locked in Flanagan to adapt the novel into a feature and had given him the option to direct.

This week’s “Kingcast” podcast also finds Flanagan discussing the one “Doctor Sleep” scene that proved too brutal for King himself. The scene concerns Jacob Tremblay in a cameo appearance as a young boy who gets kidnapped and viciously murdered by the psychic vampire gang known as the True Knot.

“When Tremblay got killed [King] leaned over to me and said, ‘That’s a little brutal, isn’t it?’ We changed it. We backed off,” Flanagan said. “When he saw it, we maybe we cut to Jacob two additional times so there were two more stabs. We took those out. That was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been on a set. That was horrible for everyone except Jacob, who had a blast. That was Stephen’s only note for the movie.”

“Doctor Sleep” is now streaming on HBO Go and HBO Max. Listen to Flanagan’s complete interview on “The Kingcast” podcast here.

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