Blumhouse have just announced that their upcoming remake of Stephen King’s Firestarter has now begun production in Canada. The horror movie studio made the announcement via social media, pairing the news with a fiery bit of footage showing one of the production’s stunt team being set aflame, something which will no doubt be a very frequent occurrence in the movie.
The Firestarter remake comes courtesy of Universal Pictures, Blumhouse and Weed Road Productions. The movie is set to star Zac Efron (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, The Greatest Showman) as the father of the titular character with a penchant for flames, Andy McGee. Yes, Efron is playing father roles now. Alongside him stars Michael Greyeyes (Wild Indian, Rutherford Falls, True Detective) as John Rainbird in this tale of a young girl who develops pyrokinesis and the secret government agency known as the Shop which seeks to control her.
The story has of course been adapted for the screen before, with director Mark L. Lester helming an adaptation in 1984 starring David Keith, Martin Sheen George C. Scott, and a young Drew Barrymore. The movie was sadly not met with a very warm critical reception, with Stephen King himself describing the live action effort as “one of the worst of the bunch” of the adaptations of his work he had seen. Since then, Firestarter has garnered something of a following, though you would be hard pressed to find any fan of the book who does not think the movie has room for (much) improvement.
Much like the 1984 adaptation before it, the remake will once again be based on Stephen King’s classic sci-fi novel of the same name from 1980. Firestarter is being directed by Keith Tomas (The Vigil) from a script which was adapted by Scott Teems (Halloween Kills, Rectify). Jason Blum and Academy Award winner Akiva Goldsman will produce. Martha De Laurentiis, who was an associate producer on the 1984 adaptation of Firestarter starring a young Drew Barrymore, will executive produce.
Despite the critical lashing that the original Firestarter received, the director behind the upcoming remake, Keith Thomas, recently revealed that he does plan to honor the original movie and respects the way in which it hews so closely to the source material. “I look at [the original] film as it’s a great example of filmmaking at the time in terms of adapting this book,” Thomas said. “It’s very, very close to the book in terms of kind of the way it unfolds, and the way the characters are introduced and come into it and come out of it. For me, it’s great that it exists and people who love it, I think, will still love it after this one. But I hope that they will love this one as well.”
The director is likely feeling quite confident in his ability to do the Stephen King story justice, having been approved by the author himself. “When Jason [Blum] pitched it to me it was exciting, as that’s one of my favorite Stephen King novels, and [while] I really like the 1980’s film, I felt we could do something new,” the filmmaker said. “The screenplay is by Scott Teems, who wrote the upcoming Halloween Kills, it’s an amazing script. It has everything you would want, people’s heads catching fire and their faces melting off… [King] watched The Vigil, approved me as director and he read the script from the early stages, and he’s very happy with it. He’s excited for it, he’s there the whole way.”
Firestarter does not yet have a release date.