Mark Romanek Directing ‘Overlook Hotel,’ Because Even Resorts Get Origin Stories

By  · Published on July 18th, 2014

Warner Bros. Entertainment

With conspiracy theorists and devotees to the history and mysteries within room 237 making virtually nothing about The Shining a secret anymore, you would think that the existence of a prequel detailing the origins of the world’s worst winter getaway would be deemed unnecessary. And yet, Overlook Hotel, the companion film to Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 classic, is moving forward with Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go; One Hour Photo) at the helm, according to Variety. Know any terrifying little twin sisters in need of their very first SAG cards?

The premise for the prequel does seem intriguing. The film, scripted by former The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara, will be based on the original prologue to Stephen King’s 1977 novel, which was cut before the book went to production. But how did Mazzara get the unpublished prologue? Was it sent to him by hotel ghosts? Oh, Stephen King probably published it later? No ghosts? Right.

Many years before Jack Torrance drags Wendy and Danny and his finger through a hellscape of writer’s block and cabin fever, the Overlook Hotel was, at the turn of the 20th century, the prize jewel of robber baron Bob T. Watson. If we retained nothing but this from US History class in high school, it is that robber barons all look like Mr. Monopoly, so keep that in mind whenever you think about this film and its premise. Watson scaled the Rocky Mountains of Colorado looking for only the finest location to build the most spectacular resort in all of the United States of America, the place that would also be home to him and his family. The film will be told through his perspective.

Now, as this is the only bite of information known about the plot so far – just the building of the Overlook Hotel, there’s clearly something afoot between Mr. Moneybags’ construction dreams, the killing of the Grady family and Jack Nicholson howling like a wounded animal while limping through an ice maze. What did it? Was the Overlook built on an ancient burial ground? Was Watson’s whole family murdered, and his greed over building a mega-hotel causes him to wander the halls for all eternity, throwing elaborate ghost parties and luring sad dads into his trap of jazz and murder?

Whatever the case, it’s bold of Romanek to take on another installment of King’s most grumbly book-to-screen creation. It’s no secret that King did not care for Kubrick’s interpretation of The Shining, which took some liberties with the original source material – granted, in doing so became a horror classic. Though the piece of the novel that he’s now in charge of adapting is small, perhaps he’ll have better luck getting in King’s favor this time?