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Zac Efron's Firestarter Remake Has An Official Rating, And Stephen King Would Probably Approve

Ryan Kiera Armstrong in Firestarter
(Image credit: Blumhouse)

There is still quite a bit that we don't know about the upcoming remake of Stephen King's Firestarter. We don't know specifically how the movie will be modernizing the story; we don't know how a number of key supporting characters will be treated; and we don't actually know when it will be getting a theatrical release. That's quite a lot of mystery – but one thing we now know is that the film won't be holding back when it comes to graphic content, as the MPAA has delivered an R-rating to the feature.

While the MPAA can sometimes get rather descriptive when it comes to the reasons why they've decided to give a movie an adults-only grade, the only detail given on the organization's official website is "violent content." This suggests that we won't hear any characters in the film utter the word "fuck" too many times, and there won't be any nudity, but also that Firestarter isn't going to hold back too much when it comes to sequences where people are set ablaze.

Based on the 1980 Stephen King novel of the same name, Firestarter primarily centers on a psychically gifted father and daughter – Andy and Charlie McGee – who find themselves on the run from a mysterious government sector known colloquially as The Shop. While Andy has the ability to "push" people, basically a minor form of mind control, Charlie has pyrokinesis, and there is a fear that she could become so powerful that she could crack the world in half.

Keith Thomas, who made a stellar directorial debut last year with the indie horror film The Vigil, is the director of the Firestarter remake, working from a script written by Scott Teems (Halloween Kills). Zac Efron and Ryan Kiera Armstrong star respectively as Andy and Charlie McGee, and Michael Greyeyes is playing John Rainbird, a psychotic mercenary who is hired by The Shop to capture the protagonists.

When one considers the source material, it's wholly fitting that Firestarter would get an R-rating, as Stephen King's book not only features multiple sequences of people being set on fire, but also a rather graphic moment involving a man sticking his hand in an active garbage disposal unit (though whether or not this scene will be included in the adaptation is presently unknown). The original film adaptation of Firestarter, directed by Mark L. Lester and starring Drew Barrymore, was also rated R when it hit theaters in 1984.

As noted earlier, we still don't know when Universal Pictures plans to release Firestarter – but an additional piece of good news to glean from this reveal is that the film has completed post-production. This very well could mean that it will be released as early as this spring or possibly during the summer, and that wouldn't be too bad a strategy given that another high profile Stephen King adaptation, Gary Dauberman's Salem's Lot, is currently on schedule to be released on September 9.

We'll keep you updated about Firestarter's development as more information becomes available. In the meantime, you can keep track of every Stephen King adaptation in the works via our Upcoming Stephen King Movies and TV guide, and check out everything hitting the big screen and streaming by heading over to our 2022 Movie Release Calendar.

Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.