Westworld‘s Zahn McClarnon has been cast in The Shining sequel Doctor Sleep currently in the works at Warner Bros. He’ll be playing Crow Daddy, part of a mysterious psychic cult known as The True Knot who steal the lifeforces of children who can “Shine”. He joins previously announced cast members Ewan McGregor who’s playing an adult Danny Torrance, Rebecca Ferguson who’s playing The True Knot leader Rose the Hat, Alex Essoe who’s playing Wendy Torrance, and Carl Lumbly who will play Dick Halloran. (If that last name comes as a surprise, then you clearly haven’t read The Shining. Without risking potential spoilers, I’ll just say that Stephen King’s novel has a much different ending than Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation. If you’re also wondering how Essoe, an actress in her 20s, can be playing the mother of McGregor, age 47, I have one word for you: Flashbacks.)
McClarnon has been considered a bona fide breakout for the reoccurring role of Akecheta, a Native American “host” on HBO’s Westworld (which recently concluded its second season). Horror fans may also remember him for his supporting roles in Resolution and Bone Tomahawk, though the actor has primarily worked in TV appearing as a regular in The Sons, Frontier, and Fargo. As for his character in Doctor Sleep, Crow Daddy is described as Rose the Hat’s right-hand man and lover.
Doctor Sleep is being helmed by Mike Flannagan, a rising star in horror who’s no stranger to the works of Stephen King. After garnering indie success for his debut feature film Absentia, he broke out in a major way with Oculus. This led to a string of hits including Hush, Before I Wake, Ouija: Origin of Evil (one of those rare sequels that surpasses the original), and most recently Gerald’s Game, based on King’s novel released in 1992. Doctor Sleep is targeting a 2020 release date, so it’ll be a while before we have a trailer or a plot summary, but here’s the synopsis of the novel:
“On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless-mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes ‘Doctor Sleep’.”
We’ve been in the midst of a true Stephen King Renaissance triggered at least in part by a wave of nostalgia ignited by Netflix’s Stranger Things in 2016. 2017 was a huge year for King-based films, with IT, 1922, and the previously mentioned Gerald’s Game all considered some of the year’s best genre offerings. While the fever has cooled in 2018 (with Hulu’s Castle Rock being one of the few adaptations of the bestselling author’s work), expect a resurgence in 2019 with big-budget releases IT: Chapter 2 and Pet Sematary, both currently shooting in Canada. In addition to Doctor Sleep, 2020 will also see a feature film adaptation of From a Buick 8. Check back often for more Doctor Sleep details as information emerges. This news came our way via Variety.