Why Stanley Kubrick refused to read Stephen King’s The Shining Script

Stanley Kubrick adapted the famous novel by Stephen King The brilliant in a horror film of the same name, but made so many changes to the story that it’s not seen as a proper adaptation of the novel – and Kubrick actually refused to read the script King had written for The brilliantfilm adaptation of. Many of Stephen King’s works have been adapted into other media, some successfully and some less so, and some, like Kubrick’s The brillianthave earned their place in cinematic history, but not without a fair amount of controversy.


by Kubrick The brilliant took King’s characters and story basis to make a psychological horror film now considered among the greatest films ever made, but there was a lot of controversy behind the scenes. In addition to Kubrick’s well-documented perfectionism and the way he treated Shelley Duvall during the production of The brilliantKubrick refused to read the script that King himself had written for the adaptation of his novel, and the legendary director gave different reasons to justify his decision.

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Stanley Kubrick considered Stephen King’s writing “weak”

The Shining Jack Torrance sleeping

Stanley Kubrick reportedly once described Stephen King’s writing as “weak,” which was part of his reasoning for not even glancing at King’s script for The brilliant. The other reason Kubrick didn’t read Stephen King’s script and wrote his own instead was that King’s was too literal an adaptation of the novel—after all, it was an adaptation of his own novel. In addition to that, Kubrick explained that he didn’t believe in ghost stories because they implied “the possibility that there was something after death“and he didn’t believe in any of it – however, he called King to say that he believed ghost stories were fundamentally optimistic precisely because they suggested the existence of life after death, but when King brought up the concept of hell, Kubrick said that I did not believe it.

Kubrick ended up using The brilliant novel only as a starting point for the story he wanted to tell, so he saw no reason to read King’s script and collaborate with him on a new screenplay. Instead, Kubrick wrote his script with Diane Johnson, who also despised Stephen King’s writing, calling The brilliantit is not part of great literature”. In the end, Kubrick and Johnson’s screenplay was decidedly successful as it gave way to a haunting story of a family trapped in a hotel and the many spirits that live there, but it failed to capture the essence of the novel and hence what made it scary. it is special.

What Stephen King thinks of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

Jack looks at a replica of the maze from The Shining

Obviously, the biggest controversy about Kubrick The brilliant is Stephen King’s answer. King said Kubrick certainly made a memorable film, but as an adaptation of his novel by him, he was no good, even saying that of all the adaptations of his novel by him, it’s the one that he could.”remember to hate”. In his 1981 non-fiction book Macabre danceKing called Kubrick’s The brilliant a”maddening, perverse and disappointing film”, but kept “a brilliance that is indisputable”. King was also open about Kubrick’s changes to the story and characters, explaining his view of Jack Torrance and the forces haunting the hotel, which are completely different from those presented by Kubrick.

Kubrick had read Stephen King The brilliant script, he may have picked up on a couple of ideas that would have made his film a little more faithful to the source material, but it may also have brought even more tension to his relationship with King. Finally, while Stanley Kubrick was making one of the greatest horror films and Stephen King was writing one of the best horror novels, the film adaptation of The brilliant and the book are two different entities.

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