nobody movie_Here’s why Stephen King hated 1984’s Firestarter


Speaking to American Film Magazine in June 1986, King hardly had anything nice to say about Firestarter. King called the film “one of the worst of the whole series” of adaptations of his works and found the film “tasteless…like mashed potatoes in the cafeteria”. The author explained that “there are things happening in this movie in terms of special effects that don’t make any sense to me at all”, such as “why does this kid’s hair blow every time she makes fire”. Up to this point, King “never gotten a satisfactory answer” when viewing the film’s rough cut, and when it came to the post-production process, he spoke to De Laurentiis, who, he says, “constantly asked me for input… Sometimes.” he would take it.”

King mentioned that “the film has great actors,” but made an exception for the lead, David Keith, who plays Charlie’s telepathic father, Andy. King explained that he “didn’t feel [Keith] was very good,” adding insult to injury, mentioning how “my wife said he has dumb eyes.” Although he praised Martin Sheen (who plays Captain Hollister, head of the nefarious government agency The Shop), he called him ” a great actor,” King claimed that Sheen’s performance suffered because “no direction and nobody would tell him” what to play. In King’s opinion, Sheen was “simply repeating Greg Stillson,” his demented politician character from 1983’s The Dead Zone, De Laurentiis’ earlier (and more respected) adaptation of King. He called Sheen’s Hollister “the exact same character” and explained that a Stillson guy “shouldn’t be in charge of The Shop … he’s not the guy to get this job.”

It should be said, however, that the interview in which King makes these comments (alongside outspoken, albeit more positive, criticism of The Dead Zone, Cujo, and of course The Shining) took place just prior to the release of “Maximal overdrive”. Written and directed by the horror maestro, this film would go on to be his first and (so far) only credit as a director. As seen in the film’s trailer, The promotion revolved around King claiming he “just wanted someone to do Stephen King right” and promising to “scare you to death” and when audiences and critics weren’t sufficiently scared (or otherwise amused) by the film , King walked away from the experience slightly more humble.

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