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Doctor Sleep director explains why he cast Ewan McGregor as the grown-up Danny Torrance

Clark Collis

When writer-director Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House) set about casting the role of Dan Torrance in his horror film Doctor Sleep (out Nov. 8), he knew he needed an actor who could portray the hero of Stephen King’s original horror novel, a middle-aged man with a supernatural gift who was psychically damaged by the events of his childhood. But since Flanagan’s movie acts as a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of King’s novel The Shining, he also needed an actor who could be convincing as the son of that movie’s two adult leads, Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. The director eventually cast Trainspotting and Star Wars prequels star Ewan McGregor in the role, and we got the first glimpses of his performance as Dan in the film’s just-released trailer.

“We definitely wanted it to be someone that looked like he could actually be the offspring of Nicholson and Shelley Duvall,” Flanagan said at an event to launch the trailer in Los Angeles. “More, though, it was about making sure we had someone who felt like Dan to us. I never really wanted to worry too much about making sure there was an element of Jack, because there really doesn’t need to be in Dan. His last memory of his father, he’s 5 years old. Ewan can still arch the brows and throw a mean smile at you. He can do it. But that was never really the point for us. It was really like, Okay, does he look he could be [their child]? Then, great. Then, that’s plenty.”

Check out the trailer for Doctor Sleep above.

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