Ewan McGregor to Star in 'Doctor Sleep'; Here's Everything We Know

Ewan McGregor Fargo

Update: Ewan McGregor (above in TV’s Fargo) will star in Doctor Sleep, according to Variety. Based on Stephen King’s novel, the sequel to The Shining will be directed by Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s Game).

McGregor will play Dan Torrance, the little boy known as Danny in the original film. Now he’s an adult; he’s still dealing with troubling ghosts from his past, but his psychic abilities help him to comfort dying patients at the hospice where he works.

(Read our previously-published post below to learn everything we know about the film.)


Some 38 years after it was released in theaters, The Shining (above) remains one of the most admired horror films in history. Now a big-screen adaptation of Doctor Sleep, based on King’s sequel, is on its way to theaters, with a newly-announced release date. What do we know about the upcoming film?

What is the sequel’s story?

First published in 2013, Doctor Sleep follows Dan Torrance, the grown-up son of Jack and Wendy Torrance in the original, as he deals with troubling ghosts of his past, His psychic abilities have been reawakened, enabling him to comfort dying patients at the hospice where he works. In time, he establishes a telepathic bond with a young girl named Abra Stone, who has her own psychic powers. Together they must confront a frightening group known as the True Knot.

Who will direct?

As we heard in January, Mike Flanagan will write and direct the film. He’s a great choice for the sequel. He first came to attention with Absentia and Oculus, two horror films with distinctive atmospheres of dread. His next two films, Hush and Before I Wake, took basic premises and then shook them up with unexpectedly thrilling results.

His most recent work, however, speaks directly to his qualifications for Doctor Sleep. A sequel that was widely considered to be superior to the original, Ouija: Origin of Evil showed that he could invest a follow-up film with new scares and a fresh perspective. His adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game, a novel that revolves around a woman handcuffed to a bed in an isolated cabin after her lover dies, was a nerve-jangling experience.

Most recently, Flanagan has been busy writing and directing The Haunting of Hill House, a series for Netflix based on Shirley Jackson’s classic novel. As to Doctor Sleep, he shared his enthusiasm on social media.

Who might star? 

Let the speculation begin! Flanagan has often worked with young performers in key roles, so it’s likely that Abra will be played either by a newcomer or a less-known actress, whose performance may remain in question until the film is released. The bigger question of course, is Dan Torrance. 

Danny Lloyd was only six years old when he played the role in the original and never pursued an acting career. Even though he left an indelible impression on viewers, the actor who plays the character as a troubled adult will face fewer obstacles than, say, Alden Ehrenreich as young Han Solo. Still, it’s a challenging role; the actor will need to capture Dan’s anger, vulnerability and empathy to be truly effective.

What is the release date?

Warner Bros. will release Doctor Sleep in theaters on January 24, 2020.