The work of Stephen King seems to go through cycles of popularity. Right now we're in one of his "hot" periods as several of his works are being made into films. Some, like The Dark Tower, are seeing the screen for the first time, while others, like It are being remade. We can now add Firestarter to the remake list. First turned into a feature film in 1984 that starred a young Drew Barrymore, Universal is now planning to remake the project with Akiva Goldsman behind the camera.
The announcement was made during the Overlook Film Festival, a fitting location to announce a Stephen King project, as the site was used for scenes in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. According to Deadline, production duties will be shared by Universal, who had the original film rights, and Blumhouse, the horror focused producer responsible for 2017 hits Split and Get Out. Scott Teems is working on the script. Akiva Goldsman, who most recently wrote the script for the big screen adaptation of The Dark Tower, is on board to direct the Firestarter remake.
Stephen King's Firestarter tells the story of a couple who undergo government experiments with LSD that give them psychic powers. The couple then gives birth to Charlie, a girl who manifests powerful pyrokinetic powers. The government agency, called The Shop, want to harness these powers as weapons, sending Charlie on the run.
It's far from surprising to see a plan for a Firestarter remake. The buzz for It, which is seeing it's second adaptation, first for the big screen, is pretty strong right now and that can be chalked up to people who both love King's original novel, as well as those only familiar with the Tim Curry, led TV movie. Firestarter wasn't a huge hit when the original film was released in 1984. In it's opening weekend it placed third at the box office, right behind Breakin' so that probably tells you all you need to know. Having said that, over the years many have seen it and when people think of Drew Barrymore's child acting years, the two films that likely comes to mind are E.T. and this one. The name is known, even if the previous film isn't particularly loved.
This isn't the first time that Universal has tried to bring back Firestarter. A plan to turn the name into a major franchise never got off the ground several years ago, so there's no guarantee this one will fair any better, though it doesn't appear there are any specific plans here beyond making one movie, so that might make things easier.
No release date was given so we don't know what the timetable is for the new Firestarter but clearly, with a writer and director on board, the next thing the film needs is an actress to play the lead. We'll let you know who that's going to be as soon as we know.