How Zac Efron’s Firestarter Will Differ From The Original Stephen King Adaptation

Stephen King is such a prolific author that not only have many of his stories been adapted into movies and/or TV shows, but quite a few of them have been adapted for such media more than once. For instance, his novel Firestarter was previously made into a movie back in 1984, and now Blumhouse Productions is working on its own take, with Zac Efron playing the lead. However, like most remakes, don’t expect this new Firestarter to simply copy what its cinematic predecessor did.

Akiva Goldsman is one of the producers attached to the new version of Firestarter, and he’s no stranger to Stephen King-related projects, having previously produced 2017’s The Dark Tower. Along with discussing his work on the Star Trek shows Picard and Strange New Worlds, Goldsman also briefly talked about Firestarter in an interview with THR, saying the following about how the upcoming movie will differ from the previous one:

Firestarter is one of the last great, either unmade or un-remade, Stephen King novels that have become classics. There are things I will never forget from the original movie. But it diverged from the book significantly. So Scott Teems — who is a really wonderful writer — wrote this terrific script which is much closer to the novel in both incident and tone. We start shooting, I want to say, in 12 weeks. Firestarter was always some of Stephen's most intimate and affective horror, and I think pyrokinesis is a really fascinating idea when it comes to the expression of hidden feelings.

Akiva Goldsman has been attached to the Firestarter remake since 2017, when the project first set up shop at Blumhouse. So he’s poured a lot of time and energy into making sure the new movie stands out, and going off the above quote, evidently we can count on this take being more faithful to the source material compared to the 1984 feature. Granted, there will still be some differences in how the Firestarter remake unfolds, which is to be expected from any adaptation. But if you’re a fan of the Firestarter book, no doubt you’ll be keeping track of how the remake better matches what unfolded on the printed page compared to how the ‘80s cinematic narrative veered into new places.

For those unfamiliar with Firestarter, the original novel followed Andy and Charlie, a father/daughter duo who are on the run from a government agency called The Shop. During college, Andy and his future wife, Victoria, participated in an experiment involving LSD that gave them unique, albeit limited, psionic abilities. When Charlie is born, it’s soon discovered she has powerful pyrokinetic powers, making the family a target and Victoria tragically being killed during one of the Shop’s capture attempts. 1984’s Firestarter starred David Keith, Drew Barrymore, Freddie Jones, Heather Locklear, Martin Sheen and George C. Scott, and it was primarily met with negative reviews. You can count Stephen King among those who didn’t like the movie, as he called it “flavorless” back in 1986.

As for this new Firestarter, it’ll star Zac Efron as Andy McGee and Michael Greyeyes as John Rainbird (the main villain), with the rest of the main cast being kept secret for now. Behind the scenes, The Vigil’s Keith Thomas is directing the remake, and he said last month that he believes Efron’s turn as Andy will change the way people look at the High School Musical alum. As Akiva Goldsman noted, filming will begin in the coming months.

While we wait for more news about this Firestarter remake, including when it’ll be released, stay apprised of the films set to arrive later in the year with our upcoming 2021 movies guide. And as always, keep visiting CinemaBlend for all the latest and greatest news concerning Stephen King adaptations.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.