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SYFY WIRE The Shining

Ben Stiller eyes Jack Torrance role in new stage version of 'The Shining'

Treading the boards of Stephen King’s Overlook Hotel.

By Benjamin Bullard
Jack Nicholson In The Shining

Back before the COVID-19 pandemic came along and sidelined tons of project plans, a major stage version of The Shining was in the works. Stephen King’s ghost-echo horror hotel and its stranded family were bound for the big city lights as early as 2017 — before, of course, New York’s Broadway and London’s West End theater scenes both found themselves on temporary hiatus.

But now The Shining appears back on track for a West End opening, and the project has a fresh injection of life, thanks to the reported interest of Ben Stiller (Severance, Night at the Museum) in playing the lead role of Jack Torrance. Deadline reports that Stiller is “expected” to step into the twisted mind of the iconic King character, first made big-screen famous by Jack Nicholson’s unraveling portrayal in 1980’s Stanley Kubrick adaptation, The Shining.

While Kubrick’s movie made some haunting detours from the King original, the upcoming stage version will “adhere more closely with King’s 1977 book,” according to Deadline’s sources. The production comes from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender, and is being directed by Tony winner Ivo van Hove (A View from the Bridge, West Side Story).

Plans reportedly call for the new horror adaptation to find its way to Broadway once The Shining is done terrorizing Londoners. Stiller’s retreat-gone-wrong at the Overlook is set to debut on London's West End sometime in 2023, with rehearsals reportedly ramping up this fall. So far, no other cast members have been announced.

At least Stiller knows a thing or two about both King and theater acting. He’s a Broadway stage alum of the dark 1986 comedy The House of Blue Leaves, as well as its 2011 revival, and he also nibbled on optioning King’s novella Rat for the screen — though not a peep’s been heard on that project since it was first announced back in 2020.

Elsewhere in the Shining-verse, J.J. Abrams’ series Overlook never got off the ground at HBO, though at last check the Shining-inspired horror series was still eligible for other streamers to step in. And Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan had expressed pre-pandemic interest in helming a sequel to his 2019 movie starring Ewan McGregor, but there’s been no further news on that front since the first film’s modest box office, coming just ahead of pandemic-related studio shutdowns industry-wide.