'Castle Rock': Creepy New Hulu Series Delves Into Stephen King's Famous Fictional Town

HULU, Premieres July 25

By Jeff Pfeiffer

As Stephen King’s readers know, his famous fictional Maine town of Castle Rock has been regularly beset by various horrors. Its residents are about to be terrorized again in the new J.J. Abrams-produced Hulu series Castle Rock, a psychological horror story set in the King multiverse, which launches its first three of 10 episodes Wednesday.

The series begins with a mysterious discovery made at Shawshank Prison — a previously unknown inmate (Bill Skarsgård, the new It movies’ Pennywise) is found locked in a long-abandoned part of the facility. This leads Henry Deaver (André Holland) back to his childhood hometown.

Along with Skarsgård and Holland, the cast includes Melanie Lynskey, Scott Glenn, Jane Levy and Sissy Spacek (who memorably starred in the 1976 King adaptation Carrie).

The main story, while peppered with “Easter eggs” for the author’s fans, is original. “[Castle Rock] is pretty much a stand-alone mystery, and you can absolutely enjoy it without having any knowledge of [King’s] work,” said Lynskey, who plays Molly Strand, a real estate agent with a rare medical condition who has some connection to the returning Henry.

Like Spacek and Skarsgård, Lynskey had appeared in a previous Stephen King adaptation — in her case, the 2002 TV miniseries Rose Red. While she said she shares many scenes with fellow vet Skarsgård, whom she praised for his “meticulous” construction of his character, Lynskey’s acting time with Spacek was more limited but quite memorable.

“I only had a couple of scenes with Sissy,” Lynskey said. “One of them for us was right at the end, and it was so fun. We both were like, ‘Oh, I wish we’d had more.’ “She’s just one of the most magnificent actors. I remember we did a blocking rehearsal, which is where they’re just working out where the camera goes, and she opened the door to me in this rehearsal, and was trembling and crying, and I just was like, ‘This is how present this woman is. ... I’ve got to bring it.’ She’s incredible.”

Lynskey came to this production having been quite familiar with the author.

“I was a huge fan,” she said, then laughed as she admitted, “I started reading Stephen King when I was much too young, probably 8 years old. [So] when the script came into my inbox and it said Castle Rock, that was meaningful.

“They really do a beautiful job of paying homage to his work and to the history of the town, without it being a full-fl edged adaptation of anything.”