This Sunday, Hulu is giving Super Bowl fans five million reasons to get excited for Castle Rock, the streaming service's new thriller-drama series from J.J. Abrams that combines a number of author Stephen King's works into a "shared universe" narrative. During the second quarter – possibly closer to halftime – of the NFL's national championship game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, Hulu will air the following thirty-second Super Bowl spot (at a cost of $5 million) for the series this Sunday:
From J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Person of Interest, Fringe, Lost), best-selling author Stephen King and executive producers/writers Sam Shaw (Manhattan) and Dustin Thomason comes Hulu Original Castle Rock, a psychological-horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse. Combining the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of King's best-loved works, Castle Rock is an original suspense/thriller — a first-of-its-kind reimagining that explores the themes and worlds uniting the entire King canon, while brushing up against some of his most iconic and beloved stories. Castle Rock stars André Holland (Moonlight), Melanie Lynskey (Togetherness), Bill Skarsgård (IT), with Jane Levy (Suburgatory) and Sissy Spacek (Carrie).
The fictional town of Castle Rock has figured prominently in a number of King's works. Cujo, The Dark Half, It, Needful Things, the novella "The Body" (the basis for the film Stand by Me) and short story "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" (the basis for the film The Shawshank Redemption) are just some of the writings that are either set in or contain references to the town and surrounding area. Hulu's psychological suspense/thriller series looks to unite those common elements into King's own "shared universe."
In October 2017, Bleeding Cool was able to grab some interview time during New York Comic Con 2017 with some of the cast and creative behind the eagerly anticipated series. Bill Skarsgard (It) portrays a still-unnamed young man with a very unique and specific legal issue that brings him into direct contact with Andre Holland's Henry, who he first meets as a prisoner at Shawshank (yup, that one). Skargard covered a number of topics during our time, including if there's a difference between working in horror and other genres; whether or not costumes/effects in a movie like It make his performance, or vice-versa; and why he was looking forward to meeting King:
Holland's Henry is a death-row attorney who finds his way back to Castle Rock after years away when he's asked to look into a mysterious crime at Shawshank. Coming off of the success of the Academy Award winning film Moonlight and at the time finishing work on Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle In Time, Holland covered a variety of topics, including: which King novels he was assigned as "homework;" what he hopes viewers take away from Henry; and why Castle Rock is the best pilot script he's ever read:
Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures) plays Molly Strand, a woman with a rare health issue who's barely making ends meet as a real estate agent in a town where every home holds a deep, dark secret. Lynskey's career has spanned both movies and television…including a previous visit to King's world with the three-part ABC mini-series Rose Red. An admitted avid King reader, Lynskey's cautious answers gave us the strong feeling that Molly might have a whole lot more going on than anyone realizes:
Sam Shaw (Masters of Sex) and Dustin Thomason (Lie to Me) are self-confessed King "geeks" who developed the project and are executive producing alongside Abrams, Ben Stephenson, and Liz Glotzer. During the interview, Shaw and Thomason discussed how Castle Rock gave them the opportunity to turn their hours of Castle Rock connect-the-dots in their personal time into a television series; the importance of The Shawshank Redemption on the show's first season; and how a second season of Castle Rock would differ from the first:
Joining them is an impressive line-up of genre veterans, beginning with Scott Glenn as King's beloved retired sheriff Alan Pangborn, who may be needed yet again to maintain the peace in Castle Rock. Sissy Spacek plays Ruth Deaver, Henry's adoptive mother and retired professor whose aging insight into the darker places of Castle Rock's past might hold the key to uncovering the truth. Jane Levy is on-board as Jackie, the death-obsessed self-appointed historian of Castle Rock and (possible) ally for Henry; and Terry O'Quinn has been tapped to play Dale Lacy, described as a "pillar of the community" in Castle Rock.
Here's why Hulu's Castle Rock was awarded the 2018 Cusack Series award by Bleeding Cool's The Weekly Static, for being the one series we're looking forward to the most this year: