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Awards Profile 2019: Mike Flanagan’s ‘Doctor Sleep’ From Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros.' "Doctor Sleep"

Welcome to the 2019 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you in the coming year (at least at this time of writing). The series analyzes the films and their awards season potential, most notably for the Academy Awards, based on the talents attached, filmmakers involved, and story and source material.  Monday through Friday until mid-May, AwardsCircuit will bring you a new and exciting project and discuss its chances for success. If you have a suggestion for a movie we should cover, include it in the comments section below. If you miss a film covered, click on the tag or category for “Awards Profile.”

FILM: “Doctor Sleep”

DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros. Pictures
DIRECTOR: Mike Flanagan
PRODUCERS: Trevor Macy, Jon Berg
WRITER(S): Mike Flanagan (Based on the novel by Stephen King)
CAST: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Zackary Momoh, Bruce Greenwood, Zahn McClarnon, Carl Lumby, Jacob Trembly, Emily Alyn Lind
SYNOPSIS: (Deadline) “Doctor Sleep” follows an adult Danny Torrance (who was a child in Stephen King’s 1977 horror novel “The Shining”) cursed with psychic powers he calls “the shining.” While dealing with alcoholism, as his father did, Danny becomes involved in a cult that feeds off the steam of the children with the same psychic powers.

SCHEDULED RELEASE: November 8, 2019

Ewan McGregor

Potential Highlights

Doctor Sleep” is an adaptation of Stephen King’s 2013 novel of the same name. The book was extremely popular and, upon its release, reached The New York Times Best Seller list. Much of the book’s popularity stems from the fact that it is a sequel to King’s classic horror novel “The Shining.” In 1980, “The Shining” was adapted into a motion picture; directed by Stanley Kubrick, the film stars Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall as Jack and Wendy Torrance. “The Shining” follows Jack’s descent into madness and also showcases one of the most horrifying and iconic scenes in the film, with Jack taking an ax to the bathroom door as his wife cowers – and screams – inside. “Doctor Sleep” will aim to tap into the same fear that made “The Shining” a horror classic.

Mike Flanagan will serve as both writer and director for this adaptation. Flanagan is a well-known horror film director, in 2018, Flanagan created, wrote, produced, edited and directed Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House.” The show was a critical and commercial success and was recently renewed for a second season. If Flanagan can infuse “Doctor Sleep” with the same type of horror magic he managed to bring to his adaptation of “The Haunting of Hill House,” this may be a terrifyingly good film.

“Doctor Sleep” has scored a talented ensemble to bring the story to life. Ewan McGregor will star as Danny Torrance, and Rebecca Ferguson will play opposite him as the head of a cult feeding off children’s psychic “shining” powers. The cast also includes Bruce Greenwood (2017’s “The Post”), Carl Lumbly (CBS’s “Cagney and Lacey”) and Jacob Tremblay (2015’s “Room”).

Stephen King

Potential Challenges

Stephen King’s works have been a source for various television and film adaptions since 1976’s release of “Carrie.” When looking at the extensive filmography of his novels, there is no consistency in reviews or popularity. One of King’s adapted works will be extremely well received, and the very next one will be panned by critics.

The film’s success at the box office is another inconsistency. One of King’s biggest hits in recent years was 2017’s “It.” But with how successful “It” was, there are many that bombed at the box office, like 2014’s “Mercy” and 2016’s “Cell.” King adaptations are hit-or-miss. Can “Doctor Sleep” capture the magic needed to be both loved by critics and audiences? We will have to wait and see.


  • Actor in a Leading Role (Ewan McGregor)
  • Actress in a Supporting Role (Rebecca Ferguson)
  • Adapted Screenplay (Mike Flanagan)

Are you excited or skeptical about “Doctor Sleep”? Let us know in the comment section below!



What do you think?

72 points

Written by Jessica White

Jessica White studied film and theater at California State University, Sacramento graduating in 2009 with a B.A.. Upon graduation, she shifted her focus towards healthcare and became a dentist, graduating from the Oregon Health and Science University in 2017. She is actively serving in the United States Navy overseas, but continues to feed her passion for the visual arts, her first love.

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