Ewan McGregor: I feel no responsibility to fans of "The Shining"
By David Villafranca
Scottish actor Ewan McGregor poses for photos on his arrival for the screening of the film "Doctor Sleep," the sequel to "The Shining" on Oct. 29, 2019, in Los Angeles. EFE-EPA/ Nina Prommer
By David Villafranca
Los Angeles, Nov 6 (efe-epa).- Nobody can deny Ewan McGregor's boldness. He's no lover of horror films, but now he is starring in the sequel to "The Shining." And he's not afraid of the criticism of the staunchest fans of Stephen King or Stanley Kubrick, saying that he feels no obligation to them in making his own sequel - "Doctor Sleep."
"I don't feel like the responsibility for the fans of 'The Shining' (1980)," he told EFE, an actor known for his friendly nature and who now is delving into an unsettling world with this film, directed by Mike Flanagan and also starring Rebecca Ferguson, and which will hit theaters on Friday
With the tough task of providing continuity to the two visions of King and Kubrick, "Doctor Sleep" focuses on the boy Danny Torrance (McGregor's character), who - as an adult - suffers from alcoholism as he helps a young woman with extraordinary abilities with his mental powers.
Question: There are certain films where we all remember the first time we saw them. "The Shining" is one of those. What was it like the first time you saw it?
Answer: I saw it when I was ... in my 20s. Because ... "It" came out in 1980, and I was only nine then. So I didn't see it then, but ... "It" had the reputation of being the most terrifying film ever made. But I wasn't interested, I didn't want to see it.
And then ... I was watching different actors work (at drama school) ... and trying to learn about acting by watching great actors, so I was watching Jack Nicholson movies, and then I felt like I should watch it and ... I was blown away by it because it is terrifying and scary but ... it's not like a horror movie, as far as I'm concerned.
("The Shining" is) not like that, and it's not like a splatter horror movie. It's Stanley Kubrick-like psychological, it's just so confusing and twisting and scary and the music and every moment feels like something terrible's about to happen.
Q: If you're not a fan of horror movies, why did you make "Doctor Sleep"?
A: I think because I felt like it was really interesting that Stephen King had written a follow-on novel after ... however many years. In 2014, he decided to write another story with these themes. and I thought that was interesting. Now, he famously didn't like Kubrick's movie, and he could have written ... a different kind of book. (Laughs)
And then I was very interested by Danny's story - the fact that he was exploring - and I think it's something that ... Stephen King knows a lot about, or is interested in, exploring his addiction and alcoholism. I think the first book, "The Shining" is very much about an addict, an alcoholic and about living an alcoholic life and about being the child of an alcoholic. And then, this book is very much about recovery and sobriety.
Q: In many horror films we see trauma or sadness, but "Doctor Sleep" focuses more on healing.
A: I think part of sobriety is facing up to yourself and facing up to the things about you that you don't like and your fears and facing up to your demons and being able to take that power away.
But (Danny) recognizes that he had the same disease as (his father) and that was really nice human moment where he has sympathy for his father as opposed to anger. But it's really then by meeting Abra that she forces him to ... stand up against his fears ... which is ... like the last hurdle ... that's what you have to do in order to be at peace with in your life and ... find tranquility ... to look at the things that you're most ashamed of and go "Okay, I did that and ... that was then and this is me now."
Q: Fans of "The Shining" - both the book and the movie - are great protectors of its legacy. Why take on the risk of such a project? There's the possibility that a sequel could disappoint the fans of the original story.
A: I don't care. I'm not making a sequel to "The Shining." ... That's not how I approached it. I think we're making an adaptation of Stephen King's novel, "Doctor Sleep" and I think it's a really good one. I think Mike Flanagan is a brilliant director and he's made a ... really good movie out of it and ... I don't feel ... responsibility for the fans of "The Shining." (They) can still like "The Shining" ... It doesn't detract of that.
My only worry was ... that ... what people might feel if they're going to see a movie that they want to be "The Shining" again. And they're not going to get that because it's a very different movie ... But anyway ... that's not my business. (Laughs)