Director and TU alum Mike Flanagan returns with “Doctor Sleep”

By Rebecca Kirkman on November 5, 2019

The creator of Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” takes on the sequel to Stephen King’s “The Shining”

Mike Flanagan on the set of Doctor Sleep
Director and screenwriter Mike Flanagan on the set of “Doctor Sleep.” (Photo by Jessica Miglio/Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Fresh off the success of Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House,” Mike Flanagan ’02 is back with “Doctor Sleep,” opening in theaters on Friday, Nov. 8.

Based off of author Stephen King’s 2013 sequel to The Shining, Flanagan’s “Doctor Sleep” has been heralded by the New York Times for its deft reconciling of two universes: Stanley Kubrick’s iconic 1980 film adaptation and Stephen King’s novels.

The story picks up with the adult Danny Torrance, portrayed by Ewan McGregor, as he  recovers from hitting rock bottom and attempts to help a young girl, Abra (newcomer Kyliegh Curran), who shares his ability to “shine.”

The movie has received a stamp of approval from the Kubrick estate and King, who was a fan of Flanagan's adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel The Haunting of Hill House for Netflix.

An amateur filmmaker and an avid consumer of horror novels and films from a young age, Flanagan says he entered Towson University with plans to become a high school history teacher. It was an elective film course taught by former electronic media and film chair Barry Moore that inspired him to pursue filmmaking as a career.

After wrapping “Doctor Sleep,” Flanagan began filming “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” the second season of Netflix’s horror anthology “The Haunting of Hill House.” It is loosely based on the 1898 gothic horror novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James and is expected to be released on the streaming service in 2020.

It’s part of a multiyear deal Netflix signed with Intrepid Pictures, Flanagan’s production company with Trevor Macy. The deal also includes a second series, “Midnight Mass,” that will focus on an isolated community that experiences unsettling phenomena after a new priest arrives in town. 

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In My Queue

Filmmaker Mike Flanagan shares his favorite films of 2018 and 2002, the year he graduated from TU. Read more in TU Magazine.