In an interesting piece of casting news, Ben Stiller is up for the role of Jack Torrance in a new stage production of the Stephen King story The Shining. Previously played by Jack Nicholson in the famous film adaptation by Stanley Kubrick, the role is something different for Stiller, who typically leans toward more comedic roles. Per Deadline, the Ivo van Hove stage adaptation is in the works with plans for a West End debut in 2023 before an eventual move to Broadway. Rehearsals will start in the fall followed by London performances in January 2023.
Director Ivo van Hove (West Side Story) will reportedly lead the creative team with Tony winner Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Morning Sun) penning the new adaptation. Sonia Friedman and Colin Callendar are producing following their collaboration on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway. Additional casting announcements, along with a production timeline, are said to be coming soon.
The stage play version of The Shining will reportedly be more faithful to the original King novel than the Kubrick movie. Plans on the adaptation date back several years, first reported on as far bask as 2017, though work on the project was halted once the pandemic hit. The return of live theater has gotten the show back on track with the goal of bringing in A-list names like Stiller to appear in the main cast.
Stiller is known for his many comedy roles, though he previously played former child star turned murderer Sam Sweet in a bit part in The Cable Guy, a film he also directed. A fan of King, Stiller had also optioned the rights to develop a feature film based on the novella Rat, which was announced in 2020 but hasn’t yet materialized. At the time, it was reported that Stiller’s intent was to produce, direct, and star in the movie version, showing how passionate he felt about the King story.
The Shining Is One of Stephen King’s Most Popular Novels
As one of Stephen King’s most beloved literary works, The Shining has previously been adapted for the screen. It was famously developed as a feature film by Stanley Kubrick, whose movie version of The Shining hit theaters in 1980. Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd, the film takes many creative liberties with its deviations from the source material. Though the film is also very popular, King himself has said in the past that he’s not a fan.
A TV mini-series featuring In 1997, The Shining was reimagined as a live-action TV series on ABC. This version, which went on to win two Primetime Emmy Awards, was actually written and produced by King and is a much more faithful adaptation. Steven Weber starred as Jack Torrance in the mini-series with Rebecca De Mornay co-starring as Wendy.
Every version of The Shining has the same basic plot. The story follows a family of three, consisting of father Jack, mother Wendy, and son Danny, as they move into the Overlook Hotel during the off-season for Jack to serve as the building’s caretaker. Isolated and trapped by a surrounding winter storm, Wendy and Danny must fight for their lives when supernatural forces begin to erode Jack’s sanity.