Those who have “read and loved” Stephen King’s 11.22.63 will be “very satisfied” with Hulu’s upcoming adaptation, says executive producer Bridget Carpenter. But the eight-part series is not without its deviations from the source material.
Most simply said — and with minimal spoilers — the time-trippy saga follows Jake Epping (played by James Franco), a Maine high-school teacher who is urged by the owner of a local diner (Chris Cooper) to use a time portal to travel back to 1958, the device’s fixed destination, wait things out and ultimately thwart the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Sarah Gadon (Being Erica), Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas), T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy) and Daniel Webber (Home and Away) also star in the series, which will unspool weekly starting Monday, Feb. 15 (yes, Presidents’ Day).
Pressed to elaborate on what has been altered from the book and to what extent, “I don’t know how to characterize the changes, whether they’re small or large,” Carpenter told TVLine on Saturday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena. But she then singled out one shift that she and exec producer J.J. Abrams agreed on.
“Neither of us wanted to do a voiceover,” even though the novel allows you to “hear everything” going on in Jake’s mind, she shared. “So J.J.’s truly excellent idea was he needed somebody with him. That nudge helped me draw a character that existed in King’s book, but I shifted him and made him more of a compatriot to Jake. That’s probably the biggest liberty, bit if felt really authentic.”
And 11.22.63‘s creator concurred.
“What’s so cool,” Abrams said, “is that Stephen King responded so positively to some of these ideas. I was unsure if he was going to embrace some of these significant adjustments, but they were necessary — and he saw that.”
Watch a new trailer for 11.22.63: