Where There’s Smoke: Stephen King in New Firestarter Movie

Stephen King I can’t tell you how to start a fire. If lost in the woods, like a Jack London character yearning for light and warmth, all the author can do to light a flame is reach into his pockets and hope for the best. “I’d use a Bic lighter,” he jokes.

King gets much more outlandish in his fiction, with characters channeling fear, anger, or pain into all-consuming hells in everything from carrie for The support to his most iconic story of pyrokinesis: fire starter. This 1980 novel about an extraordinary girl on the run from government agents who want to weaponize her combines some of King’s favorite themes: a boy learning to wield hidden strongholds, a defiant mistrust of authority, and a twisted longing for watch the world burn . (Or, at least, to roast those who deserve it).

with a new fire starter Debuting in theaters and on the Peacock streaming service, the author is having his say. stars ryan kiera armstrong like young Charlie McGee and Zack Efron as his protective father, whose own telepathic ability to “nudge” people into doing things is gradually killing him.

The film, produced by Blumhouse (the creator of Paranormal activity, Insidious, Y Salt), often ventures to deviate from King’s novel, especially in michael gray eyesThe role of John Rainbird, the black ops agent tasked with hunting down the father and the boy. But that’s fine with King. Now that his stories are in a second or third generation of screen adaptation (like That, pet cemetery, The support, and the next salem lot), the author says he is more interested in remixes than fidelity. “I’m always curious about what people do with the basic materials I’ve given them,” says King.

spoke exclusively with vanity fair about the strange origins of fire Starter, his complicated experience with the 1984 drew Barrymore version, and what parts of the new film he wishes he had thought of himself.

Vanity Fair: 42 years have passed since its publication. What do you remember about the origins of Fire starter?

Stephen King: I was thinking LSD. I took a lot of LSD in college and I was thinking, what if there was some kind of hallucinogenic drug being tested that had these unusual results, causing psychological and paranormal reactions in people? And then I thought, well, what if that transferred to a child? What I remember most clearly is that I wanted to have a young person [as the main character]. What would happen if two people who had been on the test produced a child that had this mutation, this ability to light fires?

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