Stephen King fans everywhere are prepping for a return to Castle Rock, the original Hulu series set in King’s fictional Maine. With the debut of Season 2 right around the corner, Hulu brought the cast and showrunner of Castle Rock to New York Comic Con over the past weekend, along with the first episode of this season. NOFS was there to catch the (incredible!) season premiere, and afterward, got a chance to hear from the folks that made it. Here’s what we heard.
As horror fans already know, Emmy-award winning Lizzy Caplan is headlining Season 2, playing the infamous Annie Wilkes. Lizzy had a lot to say about getting into the character, specifically about embodying her physically. Since Caplan doesn’t match the description of Wilkes in King’s Misery, she chooses to hold herself in an alien, unsettling way. Watch for how she walks in the very first scene that features her, and you’ll see what we mean.
Beyond the visual aspects of the character, Caplan commented on what Wilkes is in the story. Though many believe her to be a metaphor of toxic fandom (which, in our current moment, makes a TON of sense), Caplan pointed out that King intended her as a metaphor for addiction. Either way, Caplan knows that her character will mean different things to different people, and is treating her with that respect. “She’s meant to be a symbol,” said the actor.
Though Caplan is new to a Stephen King role, Castle Rock won’t be without it’s vets. Of course, we’re referring to Tim Robbins, whose performance as Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption solidified him not just as a household name in Hollywood, but a Stephen King superstar. Robbins spoke of Reginald “Pop” Merrill, his role in Season 2 of Castle Rock, head of the Merrill crime family. Robbins said he was attracted to the role because of how different it was from Dufresne, crediting King’s talent in creating such a wide variety of characters. Robbins said he was excited to see the character grow from a minor character in a short story to a major player in the show, and with acting chops like his, many fans are surely excited for that growth as well.
But the cast wasn’t the only creative force at the screening; showrunner Dustin Thomason was also there to share some insight. Thomason spoke specifically about what it takes to make a horror TV show work. That, said the showrunner, is connectivity. “Sympathy is at the core of horror,” said Thomason, stating if you can’t feel anything for the characters, you can’t feel scared for them. But can we feel bad for the many bad characters on Catsle Rock, even Annie Wilkes? “This cast brings humanity to their characters,” said Thomason, and the people who just saw the premiere are inclined to agree.
Before closing the panel, Dustin and the cast listed their favorite pieces of Stephen King media. Since it seems they’re just as big of Stephen King fans as we here at NOFS are, we’ve listed those favorites here.
- Barkhad Abdi (Abdi Omar): The Shawshank Redemption
- Matthew Alan (Chris Merrill): Pet Sematary
- Yusra Warsama (Dr. Nadia Omar): On Writing
- Paul Sparks (John ‘Ace’ Merrill): The Stand
- Tim Robbins (Reginald ‘Pop’ Merrill): The Shining
- Elsie Fisher (Joy Wilkes): a tie between The Langoliers & The Mist
- Lizzy Caplan (Annie Wilkes): a tie between Running Man & Misery
- Dustin Thomason (Showrunner): The Dead Zone
Castle Rock Season 2 premieres on Hulu on October 23rd. Until then, you can catch all the Castle Rock hype you can handle over on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. And for all your horror movie news, reviews, and interviews, keep lurking at Nightmare on Film Street.