It’s hard to keep track of all the Stephen King movie and TV adaptations currently in production but Doctor Sleep is definitely one you should keep an eye on. There were already plenty of reasons to be excited about the upcoming adaptation but recently things got even better. How so? Well, Warner Bros. just announced that the movie will feature none other than Ewan McGregor as the titular Doctor Sleep. Even better, the actor received the blessing of Stephen King himself to play the adult version of Danny Torrance. Needless to say, that’s always a good sign.
If the name Danny Torrance sounds familiar that’s because you’re probably already familiar with the character. Or rather, a much younger version of Danny Torrance. The character is the son of Jack Torrance, the main protagonist of King’s 1977 bestseller The Shining. Doctor Sleep is a direct sequel to The Shining and picks up several decades after the novel. Doctor Sleep isn’t nearly as well known as The Shining but hopefully the movie will change that. A big name like Ewan McGregor’s will definitely help.
A Brief Summary of Doctor Sleep
Danny Torrance is now in his 40s and closely follows in the footsteps of his father. Unsurprisingly, the events that occurred during his childhood left him traumatized and Danny eventually resorted to heavy drinking in order to cope with his past. However, Danny doesn’t drink only because he wants to forget about the Overlook Hotel. He learns that numbing his mind is one of the few ways he can keep his “shining” ability from getting out of control. Hence, the heavy drinking.
In order to avoid ending up like Jack, Danny eventually decides to quit drinking and finds other means of controlling his powers. He ends up acquiring the nickname of Doctor Sleep when he learns that his powers can be used to ease the suffering of dying patients.
Unfortunately, this semblance of peace doesn’t last long for Doctor Sleep. His powers soon draw the attention of a powerful group of quasi-immortal psychics known as The True Knot. The True Knot’s initial target is another psychic named Abra Stone. However, when Danny decides to help the girl, he inadvertently finds himself at odds with the powerful group.
Possible Returning Characters
In addition to Danny Torrance himself, Doctor Sleep may also feature Jack Torrance as a secondary character. Jack died when the Overlook Hotel burned down, however, he does appear as a ghost in the novel. Jack’s ghost even helps Doctor Sleep in his climactic battle against The True Knot’s leader, Rose the Hat. If Warner Bros. is working on a faithful adaptation, it’s a safe bet that Jack will appear in the movie. It would be nice to see Jack Nicholson reprise his iconic role from The Shining in Doctor Sleep but that hasn’t been confirmed as of yet.
Other famous characters that might appear in the movie include several of the ghosts that were haunting the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. Interestingly enough, the final battle against The True Knot actually takes place at the location where the Overlook Hotel once stood. Jack’s ghost still haunts the area but he isn’t the only one. The ghost of the hotel’s previous owner, Horace Derwent, also plays an important role in the novel. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him in the movie as well. The Doctor Sleep movie could also benefit from the addition of other iconic ghosts from The Shining like the twins, the woman in room 237 (217 in the movie) and of course Tony.
Doctor Sleep will be directed by Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s Game) and is scheduled to hit theaters on January 24th, 2020.