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Ewan McGregor takes axe to Dr Sleep

By AAP Newswire

Ewan McGregor has a knack for swinging iconic Hollywood objects.

He looked good holding a Star Wars lightsaber as Obi-Wan Kenobi and in his new film, Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining, he replicates Jack Nicholson by arming himself with an axe inside the creepy Overlook Hotel.

"It was pretty amazing," McGregor tells AAP about the scenes where he wields the axe.

McGregor plays a grown-up Danny Torrance in Doctor Sleep.

The film is set 40 years after the horrors that took place in the Overlook Hotel and Danny, not surprisingly, is carrying plenty of emotional baggage after encountering ghosts as a child in the Overlook and escaping his crazed dad's axe.

Doctor Sleep walks an interesting tightrope in being faithful to Stephen King's landmark The Shining horror novel and master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film starring Nicholson.

King was not pleased with the changes Kubrick made to key elements of the story.

King penned the Doctor Sleep novel in 2013 and it was left to writer-director and lifetime horror film buff Mike Flanagan to attempt to bring the two novels and Kubrick's movie together in the Doctor Sleep film.

"It was a very tall order for Mike Flanagan," McGregor says.

"Mike had to be faithful to Stephen King's novels but also try to appease people who love Kubrick's movie at the same time.

"It was a bit of a conundrum but Mike did it beautifully, and came up with a very clever and satisfying last act in this movie which brings the two camps together."

There are plenty of familiar ghoulish faces from The Shining in the new Doctor Sleep film although most of the film takes place away from the Overlook Hotel.

A supernatural gang known as the True Knot, led by the evil Rose the Hat (played by Rebecca Ferguson), prey on innocents like Danny who possess the "shining" power.

Danny, aged in his 40s and battling alcoholism, is attempting to forge a regular life when he encounters Abra, a teenager possessing a powerful version of shine and being pursued by True Knot.

"The story becomes one of Danny either drinking himself to death or finding a purpose," McGregor says.

"He finds that purpose through Abra."

* Doctor Sleep is playing in Australian cinemas.