Where There’s Smoke: Stephen King Revisits ‘Firestarter’

King Stephen cannot tell you how to actually start a fire. If lost in the woods, like Jack London’s longing for light and heat, all the author can do to ignite the fire is reach into his pocket and hope for the best. “I’ll use a Bic lighter,” he joked.

King becomes much more melodramatic in his novels, with characters channeling fear, anger, or sadness into rotten hells in everything from Carrie arrive Foothold to his most iconic story of pyrokinesis: Fire starter. That 1980 bestseller, about an extraordinary girl on the run from government agents who wanted to weaponize her, incorporated some of King’s favorite themes: a child learning to manage those hidden strengths, a defiant suspicion of authority, and a hard desire to be seen burning the world. (Or, at least, to those who have it coming.)

A new movie version of Fire starter premieres today in theaters and on the Peacock streaming service, with Ryan Kiera Armstrong as a young Charlie McGee and Zac Efron as her protective father, whose telepathic ability to “motivate” people to do things is slowly killing him.

The film is produced by Blumhouse (production company .) paranormal activity, Insidious, and Get out), often venturing astray from King’s novels, especially in Michael GreyeyesThe role of John Rainbird, a black agent tasked with hunting father and son. But that’s okay with King. Now, his stories are in the second or third generation being adapted to the screen (like It, Pet Sematary, Foothold, and coming soon Salem’s Lottery), the author says he’s more interested in mixes than fidelity. “I’ve always been curious about what people do with the base materials I give them,” says King.

He spoke exclusively with Vanity Fair about the strange origin of Fire starter, his complicated experience with 1984 Drew Barrymore what version and parts of the new movie he wishes he had come up with.

Vanity Fair: Now it has been 42 years since its publication. What do you remember about the origin of Fire starter?

King Stephen: I was thinking about LSD. I did a lot of LSD in college, and I was thinking: what if there’s some hallucinogenic drug being tested that has these unusual results, causing these psychological and Mystery in man? And then I thought, well, what if that translates to a child? What I remember best is that I want a young person [as the main character]. What if the two people in the experiment had a child with this mutation, this burning ability?

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2022/05/firestarter-stephen-king-movie-remake Where There’s Smoke: Stephen King Revisits ‘Firestarter’

Sarah Ridley

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