Stephen King has always been big business, but lately he doesn’t even have to write new material. A new version of sinister clown saga It is headed to theaters, 27 years after the beloved tv mini-series, and now even Firestarter is getting the big screen remake treatment, courtesy of Blumhouse and Akiva Goldsman.
Deadline reports that the announcement came from the Overlook Film Festival, after the premiere of Akiva Goldsman’s new horror thriller Stephanie. Akiva Goldsman will direct the film and Scott Teems (Rectify) will adapt the screenplay from Stephen King’s novel, which was originally published in 1980.
The first Firestarter movie was directed by Mark L. Lester (Commando) in 1984, and starred Drew Barrymore as Charlie, a pyrokinetic little girl on the run with her psychic father from a sinister organization called The Shop. Eventually she winds up the subject of The Shop’s experiments, but it’s a Stephen King story, so even if you haven’t read or seen it, you can probably imagine how happily that works out for everyone.
The original film was followed up, decades later, by the Sci-Fi Channel mini-series Firestarter: Rekindled, which starred Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer) as a young adult version of Charlie who gets pulled back into The Shop’s conspiracies.
Frankly, even the original version of Firestarter has serious problems. It’s a tonal mess but it’s grounded by a great performance by Barrymore as a young woman torn between conflicting grown-up influences. So a remake, at least in theory, sounds like a pretty good idea.
The problem, of course, is that there are few filmmakers with spottier resumés than Akiva Goldsman. On one hand Goldsman wrote a few acclaimed dramas, including A Time to Kill, Cinderella Man and A Beautiful Mind, the latter of which won him an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. But Akiva Goldsman also wrote some of the most notoriously awful movies in recent memory – like Batman & Robin, Lost in Space, Insurgent and Rings – and his directorial debut, Winter’s Tale, is easily one of the worst motion pictures of the decade.
So yes, it’s perfectly understandable to have mixed feelings about the new Firestarter. We certainly do. But as always we recommend hoping for the best… as you mentally prepare for the worst.
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William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.