In an era where virtually every familiar entertainment property is getting rebooted, remade, or spun off into some new form, it’s no particular surprise to see familiar titles cropping up on the release schedule again. We’re also in an era where we’re seeing a new Stephen King-derived movie, TV series, miniseries, or other project announced nearly every month — he’s been a prolific writer for nearly 60 years, he’s built a huge library of work for people to adapt, and he remains one of the most recognizable names in American literature.
Put those two things together, and here comes the 2022 movie Firestarter, based on King’s 1980 novel, and putting a new face on the 1984 movie adaptation starring Drew Barrymore and David Keith. Oddly enough, the first trailer for the new version of the story isn’t set to a melancholy, slow-burn trailercore cover of The Prodigy’s “Firestarter” or Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House,” but it does suggest a new tone and treatment for the book.
In the novel, a couple, Andy and Victoria, volunteered for government pharmaceutical experiments while in college. The drugs gave them minor mental powers, but their daughter, Charlie, turns out to be a powerful pyrokinetic. The government, naturally, wants to control her, to test and weaponize her, which leaves the family on the run. The 2022 version stars Zac Efron as Andy, Sydney Lemmon as Vicki, and Ryan Kiera Armstrong (from American Horror Story: Double Feature, Black Widow, and IT Chapter Two) as 11-year-old Charlie — seemingly a more bloodthirsty and self-possessed version of Charlie than in either the book or the previous movie. And the film’s first trailer also suggests a different focus, built more around Andy and Vicki’s relationship, Charlie’s slow discovery of her powers, and a war out in the open, rather than the book and previous movie’s focus on Charlie in captivity.
Firestarter will be in theaters and on Peacock on May 13.