J.J. Abrams & James Franco Talk Stephen King’s ‘11.22.63’ Airing On Hulu On President’s Day [Trailer]

It’s just over a month until the limited series adaptation of Stephen King’s bestselling novel, 11.22.63, hits the little screen on Hulu. Now, the first full trailer is available.

As reported a while back by the Inquisitr, the eight-part mini-series stars James Franco in the lead as a teacher who time-travels back to the 60s in an attempt to stop the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. His character soon finds that whenever he tries to change the past, the past pushes right back at him.

Prior to this, the Inquisitr included some videos taken by fans of the shooting of various scenes of 11.22.63 up in Canada, showing James Franco in action in his role in the limited series.

As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, Franco, 37, spoke to critics at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena on Saturday, talking about the assassination of JFK and his part in 11.22.63. He explained he wasn’t yet alive when it happened, but that it was a big event.

“It’s sort of become, in a weird way, legend for my generation where it feels like Marilyn Monroe or James Dean. But in fact it was this horrific event. I thought this story and approach was so great because it’s a fresh way in.

“We’re not exactly telling a history lesson … You get to learn everything all over again, but from a completely fresh perspective we haven’t really seen before. It’s a way to guide a new generation into what happened.”

Reportedly, Franco loved King’s 11.22.63 novel, saying he read it really fast. However, when he heard J.J. Abrams was going to be involved in the project, he figured he wouldn’t get the part.

Reportedly, he wrote a post on Vice, sharing his frustration and soon after he made the post, Abrams contacted him about starring in the Hulu miniseries of 11.22.63.

James Franco [Image via YouTube]
According to executive producer Bridget Carpenter, the show has scenes shot in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, as well as assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s apartment building. T.R. Knight, who plays the role of Johnny Clayton in 11.22.63, said shooting scenes in the Plaza made it feel like “you’re going to a wake … your skin feels different.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, while previous projects have attempted to explore the Kennedy assassination in the past, the producers of 11.22.63 have reportedly made every effort to give their version an air of authenticity. To keep the scenes in Dealey Plaza authentic, costume designer Roland Sanchez reportedly even went through photographs and video stills of John F. Kennedy’s assassination and recreated the outfits worn that day.

J.J. Abrams is executive producer of 11.22.63, and he told members of the Television Critics Association Hulu was the best home for the adaptation of the Stephen King novel.

“They’ve been remarkable and incredibly collaborative, and as excited about this as we were.”

Abrams went on to say that the novel the miniseries is based on is a book he loved long before Stephen King approached him, to find out if he would be interested in getting involved.

Speaking of the choice of the Hulu streaming service to air 11.22.63, Abrams said, “We did go out to a number of places and had some offers, but the enthusiasm [at Hulu] was clear and it matched ours.”

Reportedly, some changes have been made to the original story, including dates, with Carpenter saying the biggest change she made was to expand one of the characters from the book. The character is Lee Harvey Oswald, played by Daniel Webber, who will be a companion to James Franco’s character, Jake Epping, when he goes back in time to try to stop JFK’s assassination.

Carpenter backed her decision to make the change, saying, “I think that people who loved the book will be very satisfied, and if you didn’t read the book you’ll be able to experience this dramatically, fantastically.”

Abrams said he wasn’t sure how Stephen King will react to the changes, but said he was positive about their adaptation of the story.

“It wasn’t in any way easy, and the work that [Bridget] did was remarkable, in some cases introducing new characters or in some cases cutting existing ones. We were very lucky to find Bridget and have her not just wrangle it but tell this beautiful Stephen King tale.”

[Sarah Gadon – Image via YouTube]
Besides James Franco in the role of Jake Epping, Chris Cooper plays Al Templeton, the owner of the diner in which the time travel portal is located.

Other stars to appear in 11.22.63 include Sarah Gadon in the role of Jake Epping’s love interest in the past, Sadie Dunhill (pictured above), Josh Duhamel plays Frank Dunning, T.R. Knight is Johnny Clayton and George MacKay plays Bill Turcotte. Cherry Jones plays the role of Marguerite Oswald, Lucy Fry as Marina Oswald and Lee Harvey Oswald is played by Daniel Webber.

To be shown in eight parts, the limited series 11.22.63 premieres February 15, Presidents Day, on Hulu. The first full trailer is included in the video below.

[Photo screen capture from YouTube]