CASTLE ROCK at ATX: Live-Blog - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote


June 8, 2018 by  

Castle Rock at ATX

Credit: Hulu

CASTLE ROCK—the new series set in the Stephen King multiverse—is paneling at ATX (at 1:30/12:30c), with creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason sharing details about what’s to come in the new Hulu series. Follow along for updates!

12:30c: We’re seeing the first footage of CASTLE ROCK. In the Terry O’Quinn-centered clip, a bit of the history of the town is explained (including nods to CUJO and more).

12:39: “Ten years ago, we were exchanging a bunch of emails, and there is this chain of emails about setting a show set in a generic [version] of [the town] Castle Rock,” Shaw says of how the series started at its basest level. “You wonder who the fuck stays at a town [like that].”

“It felt to us that there was a really interesting way to approach the material,” Thomason says. “What is a town like Castle Rock like now?…I think we were excited by the idea of coming back to this place that had haunted our childhood dreams, and [seeing it] in the modern era.”

12:43: Thomason credits executive producer J.J. Abrams and studio Warner Bros. for their help in assisting access to the larger King universe.

12:44: “Steve for us was like Charlie in CHARLIE’S ANGELS,” Shaw says. “He was the crucial figure that loomed large.” But King’s was essential “We were really gratified when he said yes. Our understanding was we were not the first [ones to ask to set a show in Castle Rock]…frankly, it was the strength of his relationship with J.J. made it possible.”

12:46: Shaw calls season 1 of CASTLE ROCK a “seasonal anthology.” When they did “unorthodox” things with his characters, the duo called up King for his OK. He was great about it.

12:47: King recently watched the pilot of CASTLE ROCK. “He said, for the first tie in a very long time, he called out to his TV and told them to not go down there,” Thomason says. “It was cool we got Stephen King to yell out to his TV.”

12:48: The goal of the show was to “adapt Stephen King as a genre,” Shaw says. They looked for the common themes, and broke down what makes a Stephen King story distinct.

There was a variety of awareness of King’s work on the writers’ staff—though they likely knew the most—though the goal is for the show to be accessible to even non-super fans.

12:50: They had a “careful balance” with Easter eggs, Thomason says. They didn’t want to make it dizzying, so they made sure everything was done “in service of the story.”

12:51: “Casting the town of Castle Rock was almost the most crucial part of the process,” Shaw says. A lot of the series was shot on location, because the mood needed to be correct. They shot in Orange, Massachusetts. Shaw jokes it was an awkward conversation to ask to film there to stand-in for one of the most awful towns on Earth.

They were able to partially shut the town down, at times, Thomason says. “They could not have been more welcoming to us.”

12:56: They story really centers around Henry Deaver. “That was certainly the place we needed to start [with casting],” Thomason says of getting André Holland, who was their first choice in the role. They wanted to “find actors who bring you into a world and make it feel real and natural.”

12:58: Bill Skarsgård is like a Beatle, Shaw jokes. “We were in New York Comic Con and there were people chasing him down the street!”

“We felt the role was really perfect for him,” Thomason says of Skarsgård. But though it felt right, there was a bit of hesitation on both sides. They wanted him, and he liked the script. “He was a little reluctant to jump back into the Stephen King universe, and we made the decision because you have to take the best actor for the past.”

1:01: Allison Tolman plays Melanie Lynskey’s sister in the show. “Allison saw the announcement and tweeted at Melanie..’I’d love to play your sister!'” Thomason recalls; they knew her character had sister. “As soon as she said that, we were like, she would be the perfect sister.”

1:04: “We all loved him…for us, it felt like there was no one else to play the Sheriff of the town,” Thomason says of Scott Glenn. His character is also a love interested of Sissy Spacek’s character. (Spacek, who, of course, was in CARRIE, plays the adopted mother of Henry.)

1:06: Terry O’Quinn filmed on the first day of shooting and the last day of filming. He hadn’t read all the scripts by the end, but a director asked what he wanted to know about what he hadn’t been a part of; O’Quinn declined to hear more. “You work long enough on a J.J. Abrams show, and you learn to work on a need-to-know basis,” O’Quinn said, Thomason recalls.

1:09: “The funny thing about Stephen King and his library is that for the most part, he’s not a plot twist writer,” Shaw says. Abrams’ work often has those moments, but Shaw says they tried to balance both what is expected from a Bad Robot show and stay true to King’s kind of work. Shaw points to THE SHINING as something that is clear about where it’s going, but it’s still horrifying.

1:11: Thomason praises how Hulu has been supportive; their notes are about deepening character and allowing themselves to take moments when needed. He also praises King, and his work: “He reinvented a genre. A horror story can be a really deep story, with characters you connect to.”

1:14: Shaw says he appreciates that CASTLE ROCK won’t be released all at once. “I think it’s really helpful to have time to let the episodes breathe,” he points out. Though the decision was made for them, Shaw is thankful they went that way.

1:15: “That’s what we call fan service,” Shaw jokes of O’Quinn appearing with a hatch in the footage we saw. “If you have a hatch and you have Terry O’Quinn, you’re going to put in him the hatch.” (But yes, they discussed it.)

O’Quinn has a scene that is essentially an eight-minute monologue, Shaw teases.

1:17: King’s reviews of LOST was part of how he and Abrams first connected, Thomason says.

1:18: “Horror, and this show is called psychological horror…can do different things,” Shaw says. He points to King using unusual items (a camera, a car) as the vessels for horror. “I hope this show makes people uncomfortable at times.”

1:20: “Is there a beating heart at the center of the story?” Thomason says of what makes a good King adaptation. You have to care about the characters and their relationships.

Shaw points out that the more enduring adaptations are “much more about confronting the unknown or the uncanny through the point of view of a character.”

1:26: DARK TOWER is in many ways the center of the Stephen King universe, Thomason says, but it’s “also a silo.” They want to let the audience settle into Castle Rock before they expand outside in the King world.

“Once you go out to the Dark Tower, you can’t go back again,” Shaw points out.

1:28: If there is a second season, Shaw says there are characters they’d love to see again. But it won’t be a traditional show that picks up where season 1 left off. “Being able to honor the diversity of stories [King] has told in this one town is our approach,” Shaw says.

CASTLE ROCK, Series Premiere, Wednesday, July 25, Hulu

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