Why Stephen King Hates Firestarter’s Movie Adaptation

While it stuck pretty closely to the horror master's book, Stephen King isn't a fan of 1984's Firestarter movie adaptation, and here's why.

While it stuck pretty closely to the horror master’s book, Stephen King isn’t a fan of 1984’s Firestarter movie adaptation, and here’s why. King is both one of the most prolific writers ever, and one of the most commonly adapted for film. There’s rarely a year that goes by without multiple new King-based movies, and in recent decades, it’s become more and more common for King’s stories to be adapted for a second time, such as the case with IT, Pet Sematary, and Children of the Corn.

With that in mind, the world isn’t likely to be lacking for new King movie adaptations anytime soon, especially since the author keeps pumping out books. Firestarter is, in fact, one of King’s novels set to receive a second filmed take, with heavy horror hitter Blumhouse Productions and Oscar-winner Akiva Goldsman producing, and relative newcomer Keith Thomas in the director’s chair. It remains to be seen exactly when the remake will begin production.

Whatever happens with the Firestarter remake, the original movie will continue to have its fans. While not usually considered a top-tier King movie, many regard Firestarter as a fine mid-tier effort, and a faithful adaptation of King’s book. Oddly enough though, King himself hates the movie.

Why Stephen King Hates Firestarter’s Movie Adaptation

As part of a 1986 interview with American Film magazine, Stephen King went into detail on why he didn’t care much for the Firestarter movie, despite its similarity to his source material. According to King, the movie is “flavorless,” comparing it to “cafeteria mashed potatoes.” One special effect he didn’t like involved how protagonist Charlie McGee’s (Drew Barrymore) hair always starts blowing in sudden and inexplicable wind whenever she uses her pyrokinetic powers. King says he asked producer Dino De Laurentiis for an explanation as to why that happened, but never received one.

Barrymore’s performance isn’t a problem for King, which makes sense, as she also appeared in the 1985 anthology Cat’s Eye, for which King penned the script. King believes the cast was full of talent, outside of David Keith, who played Charlie’s dad. In a hilariously blunt complaint, King said Keith has “stupid eyes.” King did have an issue with Martin Sheen’s performance as head of villainous organization The Shop, as while he respects Sheen’s acting abilities, he doesn’t believe Mark L. Lester adequately directed his performance, leading Sheen to simply channel his raving Greg Stillson character from prior King adaptation The Dead Zone. All in all, it’s clear King probably has zero issue with Firestarter getting re-adapted.

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