The Berkeley Independent reports that an extras casting call for Mr. Mercedes, the next Stephen King work to be adapted to the screen, has finally gone out. What is especially interesting about the call is how specific its requests are. In fact, the level of detail in the casting call may suggest a few things about the plot of the adaptation and how faithfully it will adhere to the Stephen King-penned hardboiled crime thriller it is based on.
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King is a fascinating take on an old crime writing trope. It concerns an ex-police officer named Bill Hodges, who will be played in the series by Brendan Gleeson. Hodges is lured out of retirement by a serial killer named Brady Hartsfield, who will be played by Harry Treadaway. A dangerous cat-and-mouse game follows as Hodges tries to stop Hartsfield from killing thousands of people.
It may sound painfully run-of-the-mill, but the gritty realism, shocking plot twists, and vivid characters Stephen King wove into the story set it above most pulp fiction. Hopefully, the adaptation’s writer, David E. Kelley, and its director, Jack Bender, will not stray too far from the Stephen King source material.
The Stephen King TV adaptation is set to be filmed in the area of Charleston, South Carolina, over the next few months, according to ABC 4. A company called Tona B. Dahlquist Casting is taking care of hiring extras, all of whom will receive cash in addition to the honor of being in a Stephen King adaptation.
Tona B. Dahlquist Casting is not calling for just anyone, though. Sure, plenty of general extras to populate Stephen King’s world are on the docket, but there are also a few extremely specific extra calls that say something about the nature of the series.
For example, the agency is calling for a set of Caucasian twins (preferably girls), 7-9 months of age. They add that they are paying good money (up to $1,000) to film a bit with the twins. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is actually quite telling in regards to the series being faithful to Stephen King’s novel. The twins play a small role in one scene of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes, and seeing that the people behind the adaptation are going to such lengths just to assure such a small detail matches the source material shows that they want to cling tightly to what King wrote.
Another example of very specific and detail-oriented casting is the kids playing street hockey. If one heads over to Tona B. Dahlquist Casting’s Facebook page, they can see that the company has been searching very hard the past few days for 13- to 15-year-old boys to play street hockey on the road in front of the main characters’ houses. This is just a measure to make the world in the Mr. Mercedes TV show feels just as alive as it did in Stephen King’s work. The fact that such care and detail is being put into the Mr. Mercedes adaptation is a very good sign for Stephen King fans and those looking forward to the show.
The call also places a very large emphasis on vehicles. In order to keep everything 100 percent realistic, they are calling for extras who drive cars made in 2011 or earlier. Although it is barely addressed in Stephen King’s book, the story is set in 2009. Kelley and Bender, consistent with their desire to change as little as realistically possible, don’t want to break the fourth wall with cars that would not have existed in that not-so-far-away time.
Other heartening examples of very faithful extra casting calls include a real-life ice cream man (presumably to stand in for Hartsfield, who sells ice cream by day), a group of actual police officers (possibly to stand in for Hodges’ police acquaintances), and real paramedics.
Whether you are a Stephen King nut or just a TV show buff, and especially if you live in or around Charleston, South Carolina, this is all very exciting news. Anyone can apply to be an extra for the show, and Tona B. Dahlquist Casting is still accepting queries at the time of this writing.
[Featured Image by Elise Amendola/AP Images]