11/22/63 is proof that not every literary adaptation starring James Franco is based on the works of John Steinbeck or William Faulkner. This upcoming miniseries hails from legendary horror author Stephen King (whose works outside of the scary realm are equally as prolific as those within it) and focuses on a small-town school teacher who realizes he is able to travel through time via a door in a local diner. Franco previously snagged the lead role as the teacher Jake Epping, who takes it upon himself to prevent the assassination of JFK, and the show has now secured a director and supporting cast.
Academy Award winner Kevin McDonald (The Last King Of Scotland) has signed on to direct and executive produce the first two episodes of the nine-hour event series. He will work from a script penned by Bridget Carpenter (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood), who is expected to seriously curtail King’s 800-page masterclass in storytelling and suspense. In case you hadn’t gathered, it’s one of the author’s most accomplished novels to date and is well worth checking out.
Elsewhere on the announcement front, a roster of recent additions has surfaced. It’s no good having a man desperate to travel through time without plenty of folks along the way to encourage and discourage him in equal measure, right?
Read on for detailed character descriptions of those newbies (via THR):
Chris Cooper (Lonesome Dove, American Beauty) will play Al Templeton, the irascible owner of Al’s diner and a mentor and friend to Jake. His appeal to save Kennedy sends Jake on his incredible mission.
Cherry Jones (Awake, 24) will portray Marguerite Oswald, Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother. She is as needy and difficult as her infamous son. Daniel Webber (Home and Away, Sleeping Beauty) is set as Oswald, one of the most discussed figures in American history and an enigma even to himself.
George MacKay (Defiance) will portray Bill Turcotte, a young, guileless bartender from 1960s Kentucky who becomes Jake’s ally.
Lucy Fry (Vampire Academy) is Marina Oswald, Lee Harvey Oswald’s Russian wife. She is a knockout and challenged to make her way in a foreign country with her unpredictable husband.
Leon Rippy (Stargate) is Harry Dunning, a kind, soft-spoken and damaged janitor at the school where Jake works in 2015; his traumatic early life in the 1960s has a surprising impact on Jake.
J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television are producing 11/22/63, which is set to broadcast exclusively on Hulu later this year.