It’s been just shy of four years since the reboot of ‘80s horror Firestarter was announced with little in the way of development since, but producer Akiva Goldsman has revealed that the production is almost ready to begin filming.
For the uninitiated, the movie is an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name and follows father and daughter Andy and Charlie McGee, who are on the run from government agents working for a clandestine agency tasked with turning people into human weapons by inducing psionic powers. While Andy and his wife Victoria were afforded telepathic abilities limited by side effects of crippling headaches and brain hemorrhages, Charlie was born with powerful pyrokinetic talents that make her a valuable test subject, which her father intends to prevent at all costs.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Goldsman had this to say about the production’s current status:
“Firestarter is one of the last great, either unmade or un-remade, Stephen King novels that have become classics. There are things I will never forget from the original movie. But it diverged from the book significantly. So Scott Teems – who is a really wonderful writer – wrote this terrific script which is much closer to the novel in both incident and tone. We start shooting, I want to say, in 12 weeks. Firestarter was always some of Stephen’s most intimate and affective horror, and I think pyrokinesis is a really fascinating idea when it comes to the expression of hidden feelings.”
Little has been announced by way of casting, with so far only Zac Efron as Andy and Michael Greyeyes as hitman John Rainbird, the most prominent of the men in black hunting the pair. The latter is worth noting, though, as the character in the novel is Cherokee Native American, and while Greyeyes is Plains Cree First Nation, it’s a huge improvement on the none-more-white American George C. Scott who played him in the original.
The 1984 Firestarter was a commercial and critical failure (and I’m not even going to get started on Firestarter: Rekindled, a three-hour miniseries sequel from 2002), considered upon release to be the worst of King’s adapted works to date, including Cujo, that turned the nuanced narrative into a prosaic sci-fi horror whose characters functioned as barely more than walking plot devices with little in the way of functioning personalities. Hopefully the mistakes it made have been taken into account, and Goldsman’s optimism of what we can expect from the reboot will prove vindicated.