WHEN WORK CAN HEAL – 

Nov. 26, 2022 – The subtext of The Shining is well known to be an allegory for King’s own battle with alcoholism, and Doctor Sleep is, above all, a story about recovery and sobriety — both for its protagonist and for the author himself. Flanagan was keenly aware of this when he was creating the movie, embracing the significance for both King and the movie’s star, Ewan McGregor, who broke big in the industry playing a heroin addict in 1996’s Trainspotting. “[Ewan] knew what the journey felt like. He wasn’t alone — there were a number of cast and crew members on this shoot that were sober. In fact, just about all of the actors who played main characters were sober. I was still drinking at the time, though it had already become obviously problematic in my life, I hadn’t taken any meaningful steps to change it.”

Ultimately, Flanagan recounts, it was the exchange he scripted between Dan Torrance and his father Jack (the tragic antagonist of The Shining) that saw him begin his journey towards recovery. “That scene represents an internal conversation that is profoundly personal to me,” he said. “It’s still my favorite scene of the movie.” Indeed, fast-forward to Flanagan’s life post-Doctor Sleep, and the director looks back with gratitude at the process of making the film and his own recovery. Despite The Shining sequel’s underwhelming box office performance, Flanagan says, he is happy with recent critical reappraisal and streaming success. However, it’s a far more personal victory that stands out to Flanagan. “The biggest gift I got out of it … was sobriety,” he celebrates.

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