Skip To Content

    27 "Doctor Sleep" Making Of Facts That Made Me Say, "Oh, That's Actually Really Cool"

    Kubrick's estate actually gave blueprints to the filmmakers in order for them to recreate the sets accurately.

    Fair warning: Mild spoilers ahead!

    Recently, BuzzFeed got a chance to sit down with Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan, producer Trevor Macy, and star Kyleigh Curran to find out some behind-the-scenes facts about making the movie. Here's what they shared...

    1. There are three shots that were reused in Doctor Sleep from Stanley Kubrick's 1980 classic The Shining.

    Warner Bros.

    Flanagan told BuzzFeed, "The shot of the water and the island, the two shots after it of the car going on the mountain. We cleaned them up, degrained them, made them nighttime, and added snow. But those are the only shots from Kubrick’s film."

    2. The crew actually built an adult-sized Big Wheel that the cast and filmmakers got to ride around on set.

    Warner Bros.

    "We finished shooting our day in the Colorado Lounge and then went upstairs and took turns riding it around the path outside of Room 237. I have footage of Rebecca Ferguson, like, in the dark riding on the Big Wheel just laughing her head off, it was so delightful," said Flanagan.

    3. The Overlook Hotel sets in Doctor Sleep are almost entirely practical.

    Warner Bros.

    The only thing that had to be CG'd in were the ceilings because of the lights for filming.

    4. The famous hexagon carpet was painstakingly recreated, but still needed a little color tweaking in post-production to get it just right.

    Warner Bros.

    Producer Trevor Macy said, "The iconic carpet came and the colors weren’t quite right. Mike and I were both like, 'OK, if I were sitting in the audience, that wouldn’t look right to me.' So, we had them fix it, which was a process — we reordered the carpet and still adjusted it in the digital grade. The colorist took every hexagon and she’s like, 'A little more red.'"

    5. And, after filming Doctor Sleep, Warner Bros. had the hexagon carpet installed in one of their conference rooms.

    Warner Bros.

    According to Flanagan, Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich requested that when they were finished shooting the carpet be put in one of the big conference rooms in the executive suites at Warner Bros. Studios.

    6. Flanagan got to keep the ax Dan uses for his fight with Rose the Hat.

    Warner Bros.

    "At home, I’ve got the stunt ax that Ewan used for his fight with Rose. It’s not sharp, so my kids can play with it, which is really adorable, but yeah, it’s pretty cool," said Flanagan.

    7. Kubrick's estate actually gave blueprints to the filmmakers in order for them to recreate the sets accurately.

    Sunset Boulevard / Getty Images

    "Reading the plans was so fascinating because, you know, in his plans it's Room 217 and it's clearly marked, so it was really neat to kind of forensically look at the decisions he made — the times he deviated from the plans he designed and to try to figure out why," said Flanagan.

    8. The filmmakers would literally walk around on set with an iPad to compare their set with what it looked like in The Shining.

    Warner Bros.

    "There was a lot of walking around set with an iPad. Like, 'OK, this bank of portraits go here, and although you don’t see them, the rough composition was this, so let’s try to find that.' We really tried to honor the legacy of The Shining," said Macy.

    9. They also compared notes with Steven Spielberg, who had also recreated The Overlook for his film Ready Player One not long before them.

    Warner Bros.

    "He (Spielberg) had a lot more control than we did because he could change anything. But we felt like for this movie it was important to use practical sets. He was using principally small pieces for the actors to interact with and then did BIG (digital) set extensions. We built most of it on the sets in Atlanta," said Macy.

    10. Dr. John Dalton's office was created to look like Ullman's office in The Shining kind of just for fun.

    Warner Bros.

    Flanagan explained, "We tried to recreate that as closely as possible, which was just out of eagerness more than anything. There’s no real story reason to do it, but I was like, 'Why not? It’s a job interview!'"

    11. The angle of the famous elevator shot is different from The Shining because in Doctor Sleep it's meant to be from Rose's point of view.

    Warner Bros.

    The camera is lower, from Danny's POV in Kubrick's film.

    12. And they recreated the blood digitally because it would've been nearly impossible to get it the same practically.

    Warner Bros.

    "Kubrick had done it in miniature, and the way that blood moves is so specific that we could've done 10,000 takes and it would've never matched. So, the blood in that shot was recreated digitally," said Macy.

    13. There are a ton of The Dark Tower Easter eggs in the movie and the filmmakers actually had to ask Sony for permission on some of them — in particular, some dialogue.

    Warner Bros.

    "It’s about King getting permission from MRC and Sony — who has the distribution rights to The Dark Tower — so it was a process. But, really, if Stephen King asks, people say yes, so you gotta convince him," said Macy.

    (FYI, "Tet" is a reference to The Dark Tower.)

    14. There were actually different colored typewriters used in The Shining — for Doctor Sleep they picked the tan one.

    Warner Bros.

    "We figured it’s the one people will remember," explained Macy.

    15. As a Stephen King superfan, Flanagan had visited the Timberline Lodge (that served as the exterior in The Shining) and the Stanley Hotel (that inspired King's book) many times before even making Doctor Sleep.

    16. According to Flanagan, Stephen King really liked the idea of giving Doctor Sleep the ending that Kubrick's The Shining was supposed to have (the one from the book).

    Warner Bros.

    "Part of what I said to King was, yes, I completely understood his objections to the way Kubrick changed — especially the ending — of The Shining. But if you’ll let us celebrate that movie, then can you imagine a version where we changed the ending of Doctor Sleep, but back to that ending you never got for The Shining? What if we could pull all three of these sources together? And he got very excited about that. And if he hadn't, I wouldn’t have made the film."

    17. Stephen King did not make a cameo in Doctor Sleep because he was "pretty wiped out" from his full scene cameo in It Chapter Two.

    18. However, Danny Lloyd — who originally played Danny in The Shining when he was just 6 years old — does make a cameo.

    19. Kyleigh Curran was among 900 other girls who auditioned for the role of Abra.

    Warner Bros.

    Macy said, "We narrowed it down pretty quickly to 25 or 30 and then between callbacks, we got it down to 6 and they read with Ewan. And with Kyleigh it was...sometimes it’s obvious and in this case it was. And Ewan said it too, he was like, 'It’s her, right?'"

    20. Ewan McGregor was not who they always had in mind for the role.

    Warner Bros.

    "We met a few people for Danny and Ewan was so passionate about the role from the minute we met him that it was really palpable. You want somebody who’s gonna jump in the boat with you and really work their butt off and appreciate it in the same way with what we’re doing. And he is so that person," said Macy.

    21. And he read the script for Doctor Sleep before he even read the book.

    Warner Bros.

    "Ewan is a King fan, but he read the script first and then went back to read the book," said Macy.

    22. Carl Lumbly, who plays Dick Hallorann, shaved his head for the part.

    Warner Bros., Steve Jennings / WireImage

    Macy explained, "I talked to him and asked if he was up for shaving his head and he was like, 'OK.'"

    23. Alex Essoe, who plays Wendy Torrance, did a ton of research into Shelly Duvall's movements from The Shining.

    24. To get Ewan's "acting" style down right, Curran observed him a lot.

    Warner Bros.

    "I really just watched him, I observed him a lot. Kinda saw what he moved like, kind of mirrored him," she said.

    25. Although they didn't physically have a scene together, Curran and Jacob Tremblay played a lot of puzzles on set.

    26. Before filming Doctor Sleep, Curran watched The Shining four times.

    Warner Bros.

    "The first time I watched it before the callback. The second time was a special showing before shooting, and the third time was with a friend, and the fourth time was at the movie theater…the fifth time, I’m working on."

    27. And finally, the filmmakers debated a lot on whether they should use real actors or CGI de-aging for the characters from The Shining.

    Warner Bros.

    "We spent more time on that than anything. Because, regardless if we cast somebody new, if we cast the same actor at his current age, if we de-aged him — any of that, people would have opinions," said Macy.

    Doctor Sleep is having a limited early access release today, Oct. 30 (tickets available on Fandango) and will have its wider release on Nov. 8!