When one door closes anther one opens. In the case of Glen Mazzara, the ousted showrunner of ‘The Walking Dead’, while he no longer is dealing with the horror of zombies, he’s in negotiations with Warner Bros. to write about the horrors of another kind. Mazzara is being tapped to scribe the screenplay for ‘The Overlook’, a prequel to Stanley Kubrick’s film ‘The Shining’.
The title of the film, ‘The Overlook’, is named after the haunted hotel that Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) was hired to be the caretaker of and where he eventually succumbs to the dark forces of the facility (at least in Kubrick’s version of the story). The film will focus on what actually transpired at the hotel long before the Torrance family moved in for the winter.
While there really wasn’t a formal prequel book for ‘The Shining’, there was a prologue called ‘Before the Play’ that Stephen King had originally written for the book but was eventually cut by the time the book was published. There he described the long and dark history of the Overlook Hotel which started off being built on an Indian burial ground (will they never learn?) and includes the death of Delbert Grady’s family when the caretaker decided to dice his own family with an axe.
While Warner Bros. is very eager to get this project going, there may be a hiccup to the development of the film. Apparently there’s a question as to whether or not the studio actually has the rights to produce the film.
It’s been over 30 years since the studio attained the film rights, and in question is whether or not too much time has passed and if the rights have already reverted back to King. Here’s what the author said about the conflict:
“There’s a real question about whether or not they have the rights to ‘Before the Play,’ which was the prologue cut from the book — because the epilogue to the book was called ‘After the Play.’ So they were bookends, and there was really scary stuff in that prologue that wouldn’t make a bad movie. Am I eager to see that happen? No I am not. And there’s some real question about what rights Warner Bros. does still have. The Shining is such an old book now that the copyright comes back to me. Arguably, the film rights lapse — so we’ll see. We’re looking into that.”
King is not too keen on having a film based on his prologue, especially since Warner Bros. is going ahead with the project without him, but he has said that he wouldn’t kill the film if it were up to him:
“I’m not saying I would put a stop to the project, because I’m sort of a nice guy. When I was a kid, my mother said, ‘Stephen if you were a girl, you’d always be pregnant.’ I have a tendency to let people develop things. I’m always curious to see what will happen. But you know what? I would be just as happy if it didn’t happen.”
So with the film rights or not, Warner Bros. is still forging ahead and talking to Mazzara to write the screenplay. It seems that Mazzara would be an excellent choice as not only was he the showrunner for AMC’s biggest series, he also wrote the scripts to some of the most memorable episodes of ‘The Walking Dead’.
The drawback, if he decides to sign on, is that Kubricks’s film is such a wildly known and iconic film that ‘The Overlook’ will be closely scrutinized in its ability to stand as a prequel to the original.
What do you think? Does Mazzara have what it takes to write a worthy screenplay or should Warner Bros. leave well enough alone?