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The New Firestarter Trailer Looks Like a Supervillain Origin Story

Stephen King's pyrokinetic girl looks extra-spicy in Keith Thomas' new film version.

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A little girl wearing overalls makes an angry face while her hair stands on end.
Charlie hulks out.
Image: Universal

Step aside, Eleven from Stranger Things. There’s a new girl with powers so dangerous the government would very much like to capture her and use her as a weapon. And really, she was technically here first: it’s Charlie from Stephen King’s classic novel Firestarter, which has a new adaptation coming very soon, and just shared its first trailer today.

The tone, as you’ll see, definitely has some Stranger Things going on—no doubt both King’s 1980 novel and the 1984 Drew Barrymore film had an influence on the retro-loving Netflix series—as well as movies like Midnight Special and Brightburn. Wait, what? Yeah. Someone calls Charlie “a real-life superhero,” as you can see for yourself, though the trailer suggests “supervillain” may be more apt. (Really, can you blame her?)

Here’s the official synopsis, and yes that is Zac Efron as Charlie’s father: “For more than a decade, parents Andy (Zac Efron; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, The Greatest Showman) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon; Fear the Walking Dead, Succession) have been on the run, desperate to hide their daughter Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong; American Horror Story: Double Feature, The Tomorrow War) from a shadowy federal agency that wants to harness her unprecedented gift for creating fire into a weapon of mass destruction. Andy has taught Charlie how to defuse her power, which is triggered by anger or pain. But as Charlie turns 11, the fire becomes harder and harder to control. After an incident reveals the family’s location, a mysterious operative (Michael Greyeyes; Wild Indian, Rutherford Falls) is deployed to hunt down the family and seize Charlie once and for all. Charlie has other plans.”


The rest of the cast includes Kurtwood Smith, John Beasley, and Gloria Reuben. While the 1984 film had a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, this new take—directed by Keith Thomas (The Vigil) and written by Scott Teems (Halloween Kills)—has music by another electronic film-score legend: John Carpenter, along with Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies. Firestarter arrives in theaters and will stream on Peacock starting May 13.

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