In an inspired bit of casting eccentricity, it seems that actor Ben Stiller is now in talks to play the starring role of Jack Torrance in director Ivo van Hove’s upcoming West End stage adaptation of Stephen King’s horror classic The Shining. The play, which would open on the West End next year, would supposedly be based more closely on King’s novel than the iconic 1980 film adaptation by Stanley Kubrick, which took some creative liberties with the character of Jack in particular.
Suffice to say, Stiller is by no means the first actor you would think of as a natural for starring in a stage adaptation of a story previously adapted into one of the greatest horror movies of all time. And yet, somehow the casting makes sense all the same—one can imagine Stiller reaching back to the earlier portions of his career to channel some of the same demented energy he possessed as fitness guru Tony Perkis in Heavyweights, for instance. In the story, Torrance is an aspiring writer and alcoholic in recovery who brings his family to a remote Colorado hotel to serve as the winter caretaker as he works on his manuscript, only to descend into madness when his young son’s psychic powers awaken the latent evil that dwells there.
Stiller has performed in several live theater adaptations in the past, such as 2011’s Broadway revival of John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves. Van Hove, meanwhile, is an experimental auteur of sorts who has previously adapted other films to the screen, including 2019’s Network starring Bryan Cranston. He recently directed an avant-garde take on West Side Story on Broadway.
Assuming Stiller signs on—and at this point you pretty much have to hope he does—The Shining is expected to arrive on London’s West End in early 2023.