Firestarter snags Zac Efron; Netflix’s A Note of Explanation

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Universal and Blumhouse’s remake of Firestarter just re-lit its own fuse with the official casting of Zac Efron, according to an announcement Tuesday.

This is the first update we’ve gotten on the project since last December, although it hasn’t been confirmed what role Efron will be playing within the story of Charlene “Charlie” McGee, a young girl with pyrokinetic abilities. When the government gets wind of her, they abduct Charlie and try to use her fiery powers as a deadly weapon. If we had to guess at Efron’s character, we’d say he’s been tapped to portray Charlie’s father, Andrew McGee, who, along with fellow college student Vicky, takes part in a government experiment that gives them superhuman gifts. The two fall in love and have Charlie, who inherits their mutated DNA.


Based on Stephen King‘s 1980 novel of the same name, the film is being directed by Keith Thomas, who made festival waves last year with his Jewish horror flick, The Vigil (awaiting a domestic rollout from Blumhouse). Scott Teems (Halloween Kills) is writing the screenplay and will serve as executive producer.

The ’84 version starred a young Drew Barrymore, David Keith, Freddie Jones, Heather Locklear, Martin Sheen, George C. Scott, Art Carney, and Louise Fletcher. Firestarter was the eighth book King ever wrote.

(SYFY WIRE and Universal Pictures are both owned by NBCUniversal)


Netflix has nabbed the rights to a film pitch based on Vita Sackville-West’s 1922 novel, A Note of Explanation.

Per Deadline, the work of fiction was “recently rediscovered” as “a miniature book” in Queen Mary’s dollhouse at Windsor Castle. Its story centers on a time-traveling being (described as a “sprite”) that inhabits the dollhouse. New York Journal of Books adds in its review that the sprite was present for several famous fairy tale moments:

“[The] lively, inquisitive sprite was the one, ‘who encouraged Jack to set his foot upon the first rung of the Beanstalk . . . and waved Cinderella off to her ball …’ Among her most treasured possessions, ‘worn as a locket, was the pea which had given the Princess such a sleepless night.’ She saw Prince Charming kiss the Sleeping Beauty, and even witnessed the death of Bluebeard’s first wife (not a pleasant memory). Throughout her forays into fairy tale history, our sprite always is impeccably dressed in the garb of the time and place she occupies.”

The pitch comes from Ben Queen (scribe of MGM’s animated Addams Family sequel), who will write the pseudo-adaptation that is loosely based on the source material mentioned above. Liza Chasin (Baby Driver, Darkest Hour), who has an overall deal with Netflix, is on board as a producer under the 3dot Productions banner.

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