The masterminds behind Hulu's critically-acclaimed Stephen King universe series Castle Rock are engaging in a bit of recasting, with Paul Sparks (Boardwalk Empire, House of Cards) now set to play John "Ace" Merrill, the infamous town's legendary bully. Sparks joins Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex), Tim Robbins (Here and Now) and Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade) as leads in the horror anthology's upcoming season from series creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason, J.J. Abrams, and King. Yusra Warsama (Assassin's Creed: Origins), Barkhad Abdi (Blade Runner 2049), and Matthew Alan (13 Reasons Why) have also been cast as series regulars.
Actor Garrett Hedlund (Mosaic) was originally cast as John "Ace" Merrill, and had filmed a number of scenes before recasting. The decision was sade to be a creative one, and Hedlund's scenes will be reshot.
The second season of Castle Rock focuses on a feud between warring clans comes to a boil when budding psychopath and King's nurse-from-hell Annie Wilkes (Caplan) gets waylaid in Castle Rock. This appears to be a dramatic departure from what was implied from the first season's finale: Jane Levy's Diane "Jackie" Torrance appeared to be heading out to her uncle Jack's old chopping grounds from The Shining. Whether that storyline will be followed up on or if any additional characters from the first season will appear still isn't known.
Here's what we know about the cast so far:
● Caplan's Annie Wilkes is a nurse and superfan battling to overcome mental health issues – is this pre- or post- Paul Sheldon from Misery? Assumption would be pre-Misery… but the series has been know to "tweak" King lore a bit so anything's possible.
● Robbins' Reginald "Pop" Merrill is the patriarch of King's iconic crime family – dying of cancer and at a reckoning with his family. In King's universe, Pop was the owner of The Emporium Galorium who loaned money at outrageous rates to his advantage – appearing in the novella "The Sun Dog" and mentioned several times throughout Needful Things
● Sparks' John "Ace" Merril is Castle Rock's legendary bully, set to take over his uncle Pop's businesses – and threatening a fragile peace with nearby Jerusalem's Lot.
● Fisher's Joy is Annie's home-schooled teenage daughter – who is starting to question her mother's sanity.
● Warsam's Dr. Nadia Omar is the Harvard-trained Somali medical director of a rural hospital in Jerusalem's Lot, where his rational and scientific mind will be put to the test.
● Abdi's Abdi Omar is Nadia's tough, older brother who leads the charge to build a Somali community center that will deepen the roots of his people in Maine.
● Alan's Chris Merrill is Pop's nephew and Ace's brother, struggling to keep the peace between the Merrills and the Somali community.
Shaw and Thomason executive produce alongside with Abrams, King, Ben Stephenson, Dustin Thomason, Vince Calandra, and Liz Glotzer. Castle Rock hails from Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.