Meet Firestarter's Adorable New Pyrokinetic Star, Ryan Kiera Armstrong

Drew Barrymore standing in front of a wall of flames in 1984 Stephen King movie adaptation Firestarter.
Drew Barrymore in the original 1984 Firestarter.
Image: Universal Pictures

The 1984 adaptation of Stephen King’s Firestarter was only Drew Barrymore’s third film—but it, along with E.T., catapulted the 9-year-old to stardom. Those are some big, fiery shoes for a new young actor to fill, but the team behind the Firestarter remake thinks they found the right spark in Ryan Kiera Armstrong.


Armstrong, who’s already had plenty of horror experience with roles in American Horror Story and It: Chapter II, has been cast as Charlie, the young girl with the ability to create and manipulate fire, who’s perpetually on the run with her father Andy after the U.S. government decides it wants her power for military purposes. She joins Zac Efron, who plays Andy, and Plains Cree actor Michael Greyeyes as John Rainbird, as the assassin sent to track them. We also have our first look at Armstrong as Charlie, which... looks like a regular photo of Ryan Kiera Armstrong.

Ryan Keira Armstrong as the new titular Firestarter.
Ryan Keira Armstrong as the new titular Firestarter.
Image: Universal Pictures

Still, the new Firestarter has a hell of a pedigree: it’s produced by Jason Blum and Akiva Goldsman, and directed by Keith Thomas, who made the critically acclaimed horror movie The Vigil in 2019. Firestarter doesn’t have a release date yet, but given it only started filming on May 25, sometime in 2022 is a rather safe bet.

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Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.


Arcanum Five

Origin story movies are so formulaic. The first third of the movie, she won’t have any powers at all. The movie, like so many others, will slowly walk the audience into its stranger world where people have powers or magic happens because apparently we still have to have that explained to us.

The second third of the movie, she’ll get her powers but won’t know how or want to use them.

In the third act, something will happen to her family or someone she cares about, and she’ll finally put on the costume we’re all expecting and do some real firestarting.