'Firestarter' Remake From Blumhouse Will Star Zac Efron

Blumhouse’s new take on Stephen King‘s Firestarter has announced its first cast member: Zac Efron. There’s no indication of who Efron is playing, but it’s safe to assume he’s not going to play protagonist Charlie McGee, a little girl with the powers of pyrokinesis. Keith Thomas (The Vigil) will direct the film that is being adapted by writer Scott Teems (Halloween Kills, Rectify), who will also executive produce.

Zac Efron wants in on some of this Stephen King adaptation action, and so he’s joining the cast of Firestarter. Published in 1980, Firestarter was previously adapted into a not very good 1984 movie starring Drew Barrymore. Here’s the book’s official synopsis:

Andy McGee and Vicky Tomlinson participated in a drug experiment run by a veiled government agency known as The Shop. One year later, they marry. Two years later, their little girl, Charlie, sets her teddy bear on fire by simply staring at it.

Now that Charlie is eight, she doesn’t start fires anymore. Her parents have taught her to control her pyrokinesis, the ability to set anything – toys, clothes, even people – aflame. But The Shop knows about and wants this pigtailed “ultimate weapon”. Shop agents set out to hunt down Charlie and her father in a ruthless chase that traverses the streets of New York and the backwoods of Vermont.

I’m going to assume that Efron is playing Charlie’s dad Andy, who has powers of his own. But it might be neat to see Efron play one of the story’s villains, like Captain James “Cap” Hollister, director of The Shop, or hitman John Rainbird, who pretends to be a janitor to befriend and gain Charlie’s trust. Martin Sheen played Hollister while George C. Scott played Rainbird in the ’84 film. But again, it’s more than likely Efron is playing Andy, who was portrayed by David Keith in the previous movie.

This new Firestarter will be produced by Jason Blum and Akiva Goldsman. Martha De Laurentiis, who was an associate producer on the 1984 adaptation, will executive produce. While there’s always a knee-jerk reaction to remakes, the 1984 Firestarter really is kind of a crappy movie, so there’s plenty of room for improvement here (although the original movie did have a bitchin’ score from Tangerine Dream).

Efron is charismatic and well-known enough to give the new Firestarter some weight. Now the film just has to find itself the right young actress to play Charlie, who is the main focus of the story. No pressure.

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