Stephen King’s ‘11.22.63’ Poses Some Unusual Challenges
Warning: This article may contain spoilers for 11.22.63
Stephen King adaptations rarely flop, whether they’re created for the silver screen or for television, but, while taking on a King project may seem like a no brainer, there are obstacles and challenges to be dealt with in being faithful to the author’s work. That can be no truer for 11.22.63, particularly for the reason that it is, first and foremost, a period piece and, as such, requires a fair amount of research to maintain a degree of historical accuracy. From showrunner Bridget Carpenter down to 11.22.63 actors like James Franco, Sarah Gordon, and Chris Cooper, everyone involved in the project has discovered just how challenging this story is to recreate for television, but they all also agree that it’s well worth it.
11.22.63 Will Be A Faithful Adaptation And Will Reveal Some Stephen King Easter Eggs, If Fans Know Where To Look For Them
While 11.22.63 will be a faithful adaptation, showrunner Bridget Carpenter warns fans of the 900 page King novel not to expect a word for word recreation of the literary work. In describing the book as both a masterpiece and a doorstop, Carpenter says the Hulu series has to move faster for television.
“You have to make that dramatic, you have to make it drive like a train. We wanted a speeding train of a story,” Bridget says, adding that her adaptation will vary from the novel only when absolutely necessary.
“I think that people who know the book will feel rewarded, but I also think that there are enough surprises and deviations to make it fresh,” she adds.
One thing that may excite King’s fans as much as viewers of the series itself are the Stephen King Easter Eggs scattered throughout the episodes, which are a nod to all of the author’s works. Sure, there will be some related to 11.22.63, but there will be others, Bridget says. Each tale in King’s collection of works creates some truly iconic characters and stories, but they’re also interconnected in many ways. Respecting that, 11.22.63 will present items that will be connected to other Stephen King adaptations.
“There are secrets, there are things buried. Diehard King fans should look very closely, because there are many little treats in there.”
11.22.63 Actors Talk About The Joys And Challenges Of Creating This Story For The Small Screen
The story of 11.22.63 revolves around school teacher Jake Epping (James Franco) who is sent back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but, while the story does use science fiction elements (time travel), it’s really a period piece that mainly takes place in the 1960s.
As a side note, Carpenter points out that, according to the rules of the story, traveling back and forth between past and present is impossible, adding that any changes would be undone with additional time traveling.
Working in a story that involved historical aspects had its challenges, especially when it came to wardrobe. James said his outfits were as embarrassing as they were uncomfortable, but he did his best to wear them in a manner that made them as appealing as possible without losing the look of authenticity.
“It’s hard to feel cool when your pants come just below your nipples.”
Franco wasn’t the only actor to comment on the men’s styles of the 1960s. Josh Duhamel, who plays Frank Dunning, said he was very excited to be playing a “cool guy” from that era, comparing his character to that of Happy Days‘ Fonzie, but he said those ideas were destroyed when he received the pants he would be wearing.
Adding to authenticity, the series filmed segments on location in Dallas, Texas, and actor T.R. Knight, who plays Johnny Clayton, said that the area really hadn’t moved on from that tragic and historically significant day. Much like the story of Stephen King’s 11.22.63, visiting the site of the assassination really was like stepping back in time.
“You’re aware of what happened there, and to see the whole museum on the sixth floor and to see the buildings, and to see that it hasn’t changed, that the only difference really is the style of cars that are driving around it…You were really aware of the affect that it had.”
[Image via Hulu]