If you happened to pick up a copy of Stephen King’s horror classic Firestarter in 1980 and lived in the Capital Region at the time, you would’ve been excited to learn that a portion of the book’s first 30 pages involves lead characters Andy McGee and his daughter, Charlie—a young girl who has the ability to start raging conflagrations by simply thinking about them—getting driven from New York City to the Albany County Airport. After a series of gripping scenes take place there (we won’t ruin it), the two literally descend onto the Northway. (It turns out that Andy and his daughter are on the run from government agents, part of “The Shop,” which conducted experiments on human beings, including Andy and his late wife.)
A taste from page 25 of King’s original novel: “[Andy] tried to put together what he knew about the Albany airport. First of all, it was the Albany County Airport; it really wasn’t in Albany at all but in the town of Colonie. Shaker country—hadn’t his grandfather told him once that this was Shaker country? Or had all of them died out now? What about highways? Turnpikes? The answer came slowly. There was a road…some sort of Way. Northway or Southway, he thought.”
Four years later, readers were treated to a movie adaptation, starring young up-and-coming star Drew Barrymore as Charlie (Barrymore had recently come off a supporting role in 1982’s E.T. the Extra Terrestrial) and David Keith as Andy. The cast also included Heather Locklear, Martin Sheen and George C. Scott, among others. Unfortunately, the film was shot entirely shot in North Carolina, with Wilmington International Airport doubling as Albany County Airport. And though the film raked in some $17 million in ticket sales between US and Canada at the time, famed movie reviewer gave it just two stars out of four, calling it “boring” (it’s since received a rather lackluster review on Rotten Tomatoes).
However, a Firestarter reboot has been in the works for years, and just this week, Deadline reported that the film’s production studio has begun building out the cast, which includes Zac Efron in the role of Andy and Ryan Kiera Armstrong (American Horror Story) as Charlie. But will film crews be coming to the now Albany International Airport to shoot those early scenes? Given the amount of Hollywood activity in the Capital Region over the past several months—Owen Wilson indie, Paint, recently filmed scenes in Saratoga Springs, HBO series The Gilded Age shot in Troy and HBO limited series The White House Plumbers, starring Woody Harrelson, filmed scenes in Albany—anything is possible. Hey, you never know. Maybe we should start a petition?