The Overlook Hotel is a bad place. But it’s also a great location. Much has been written (and, in at least one memorable case, rambled good-naturedly into a tape recorder) about how the iconic sets from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining deliberately and cruelly screw with a viewer’s head, mashing together vast, icy spaces in ways that frequently don’t make a lot of logical sense. It would be, to put it mildly, a tough act for director Mike Flanagan—already courting blasphemy by making a Kubrick sequel, in the form of his upcoming Doctor Sleep—to try to top. So he didn’t bother. Instead, Flanagan apparently just pulled Kubrick’s original blueprints for the Overlook’s sets out of the Warner Bros. vaults, and built the damn thing again.
This is per /Film, which did an extensive set visit on the film recently, digging in to all sorts of fun little details about the Stephen King adaptation. (Ewan McGregor has apparently been studying the original film—and specifically Jack Nicholson’s performance—in order to get a sense of what Danny Torrance might be like when all grown up.) Still, few choices seem as fraught with the potential for getting driven to an isolation-induced psychoses as literally recreating one of the most famously evil buildings in all of film. (That being said, the moment when Flanagan led reporters on the set visit through a set of nondescript doors and into the original film’s infamous Colorado Lounge does sound kind of amazing.)
Doctor Sleep is walking a strange line with its adaptational roots; while it’s obviously based on King’s novel of the same name—which pointedly takes the author’s original text, and not Kubrick’s alterations, as its source material—it’s also positioning itself as a direct sequel to the 1980s film. Flanagan’s argument for even attempting this little tightrope act is that, essentially, it would be impossible not to nod to Kubrick’s movie in some way, given how iconic it is for so many people. Plus, as a guy who makes his living telling stories about screwed up families in bad houses, it may have simply been too hard to resist: “It seemed like such a wasted opportunity,” he admitted, “To revisit Dan Torrence and not revisit The Overlook Hotel.”