You’d be very hard pressed to find an author who has had better luck getting their stories adapted by Hollywood than Stephen King. Ever since his debut novel Carrie was adapted by Brian De Palma back in the mid-seventies, King’s stories have been a staple in both bookstores and theaters. Quite a few of those stories have reached immense levels of success, but arguably none more so than his third novel The Shining. Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of the film is frequently regarded as one of the greatest horror films ever made. But believe it or not, Stephen King has never liked it.
Though he did give some praise for the film in his nonfiction book Danse Macabre, he’s often stated over the years how he felt disappointed by the film that Kubrick produced. In 1997, King wrote and produced a TV miniseries remake that was actually much closer to his original story.
BBC’s The Playlist recently sat down with Stephen King to speak with him about his latest book, which happens to be the long-awaited sequel to The Shining, which is entitled Doctor Sleep. During the course of their conversation, they asked him if he approved of Kubrick’s movie, and he stated his various reasons why he didn’t like it.
“[It’s] cold. I’m not a cold guy. I think one of the things people relate to in my books is this warmth, there’s a reaching out and saying to the reader, ‘I want you to be a part of this.’ With Kubrick’s The Shining I felt that it was very cold, very ‘We’re looking at these people, but they’re like ants in an anthill, aren’t they doing interesting things, these little insects.’”
He also stated his displeasure for Jack Nicholson portrayed the character of Jack Torrance.
“Jack Torrance in the movie, seems crazy from the jump. Jack Nicholson, I’d seen all his biker pictures in the ’50s and ’60s and I thought, he’s just channeling The Wild Angels here.”
(The Playlist pointed out that Stephen probably meant Hells Angels On Wheels, because Nicholson wasn’t in The Wild Angels.)
Stephen’s greatest criticism of the film was how the character of Wendy Torrance was portrayed.
“Shelley Duvall as Wendy is really one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film. She’s basically just there to scream and be stupid, and that’s not the woman that I wrote about.”
I can’t say that I disagree with Stephen King. The two pieces of art are as different as night and day, or as King put it, hot and cold. Having read the novel first, that’s the version of the story that I came to know and love, and it took me a long time to appreciate Kubrick’s version. They’re both impressive pieces of art, but I still prefer the novel.
What do you think about Stephen King’s opinion of the film? Do you agree that Kubrick’s adaptation isn’t really King’s story? What do you think of his opinions on the actors and their characters? Why don’t you just tell us what you think in the comments below?
Source: The Playlist