James Franco to Star in Hulu’s Stephen King Series ‘11/22/63’

James Franco Sundance
Larry Busacca/Getty

James Franco is about to go streaming back into the past.

The Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning “Interview” star has been cast as the lead in Hulu’s original series “11/22/63,” adapted from Stephen King‘s 2011 bestseller of the same name.

Franco, who also will serve as a producer on the nine-hour miniseries, will play the lead role of Epping in the time-travel Kennedy assassination thriller from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Prods. and Warner Bros. TV.

In the story, Epping, a high-school English teacher, travels back in time to prevent President John F. Kennedy from being shot, but the mission is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, as Epping falls sway to the past, which resists change.

The project, which marks the first original programming collaboration between Hulu and WBTV, is described as “part thriller, part love story.”

At the time of the series’ announcement, King commented, “If I ever wrote a book that cries out for longform, event-TV programming, ‘11/22/63’ is it.”

King serves as exec producer with Abrams and writer Bridget Carpenter.

Franco is repped by CAA; Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern; and Untitled Entertainment.

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  1. Dante says:

    Hi I am a james Franco look alike

  2. Laura says:

    They’re actually filming this in my small town right now. Probably going to see it and try to determine which scenes were filmed here, haha. Also considering on going into town so I can try and get a peek at how movie magic is made, since my dream job has been acting ever since I could remember.

  3. Debbie Troop says:

    I love the book, absolutely amazing, it made me laugh, cry, and jump to the edge of my seat..Don’t ruin a great book with a lousy production like most of the movies do to King’s books,,Thay ruined The Dome. and cast anyone but James Franco, he just won’t do the part of Epping justice, Epping in the book is over 6ft. tall and handsome.. not a joke like James Franco

  4. Linda Lease says:

    What an amazing book. A haunting love story with multiple layers. I listened to the audio book and was completely enthralled with the narration done by Craig Wasson. It would be wonderful if he could play Jake but unfortunately – he is 60 years old and about 5′ 10″. But recent photos show him still looking young and handsome. He gave life to Jake (plus all the characters) with his award winning narration – filled with emotion and humility. The onscreen actor will have a daunting task in presenting this character with the depth that Mr. Wasson developed with his amazing voice. I could see someone like Jon Hamm or Hugh Jackman in this role. Hoping for the best. This story deserves the best casting possible. Thank you Mr.King.

  5. Debbie says:

    YUCK, James Franco is a HORRIBLE choice to play Jake! Nathan Fillian would be perfect! That is who I saw as I read this fabulous book

  6. carmina says:

    Im so excited for James. Franco &Stephen King all time faviorte writers of mine, to be working together is geniuse so much talent , my quiestion : Since the tragedy did occur in dallas tx, are they going to film in dallas , im from dallas and as soon as i read and heard i was woundering ?

  7. macd says:

    Franco may be a master of self-promotion but he’s a horrible actor. He’s ruined everything he’s been in with his snide, smirking, cynical “performances”. True, he does have great chemistry-with himself! Won’t somebody please exile him to the same pasture inhabited by Nick Cage, Johnny Depp, Tommy Lee Tones and all the other overrated losers.

  8. When is Stephen King’s work going to be respected enough to be on Showtime or HBO so it can be showcased properly!? I think this could have made a pretty great feature film, too. That little rant over with, this novel is a fine effort, one of his best, and James Franco is definitely not who I pictured as the lead while reading the novel. I pictured a couple of people; Tony Goldwyn who played Sam Wheat in Ghost (obviously, he couldn’t do the role now) or Matthew Morrison, best known for Glee, someone with an Everyman quality. Mr. Franco has made a big deal out of all the degrees he has, courses he’s taken over the years, etc. etc. but I still can’t see him as this high school teacher who lands in a situation with such high stakes. He has a cynical vibe about him but maybe he’ll prove me wrong. I’m just glad King’s work keeps getting produced here and there.

    • Chris Isbell says:

      I couldn’t agree more about this novel deserving the big budget, multi season HBO treatment.

      While there have been a few fantastic “book to series” shows on Netflix, and the venue can certainly work quite well for longer stories, I’m disappointed by the announcement that HULU will be hosting this beautifully written novel.

      I confess that even as one of King’s “Constant Readers”, I didn’t get around to reading 11/22/63 until a few years had passed since its initial release. For whatever reason, the whole JFK time travel premise didn’t immediately appeal to me.

      When I did finally read the novel, I was blown away. I was hooked from page one as I immediately connected with the main character on a very personal level.

      Something about Jake Epping really resonated with me, and when Sadie entered the picture, it was all over for me; This became my all time favorite “stand alone” King novel.

  9. Doug says:

    1986 Twilight Zone episode, written by J. Neil Schulman, titled “Profile in Silver”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profile_in_Silver) The EXACT plot of this Stephen King book / TV miniseries. I call shenanigans.

    • “Profile in Silver” sounds very interesting, and I would like to watch the episode, but if you had actually read “11/22/63” you would realize that the plots are very different. A large part of the plot of “11/22/63” is a love story, probably the best love story King has ever written.

    • Doug you are reaching. There are tons of time travel jfk stories over the years. Its a common fantasy. The past is obdurate. Stephen king is a genius.

  10. Yaelle G says:

    I am so freaking excited about this I don’t know what to do with myself. BTW – its Jake Eppig.

    This is an example of Stephen King work that might appeal to those who hate horror, just as Shawshank, THe Green Mile and even It do. (People see pics of the scary clown & get freaked out & don’t realize what they’re missing out on.)

    This is amazing – its as if they have (no its not as if) taken everything I really love in movies, books & video games in the past year or so & brought it all back in remakes, sequels, prequels, etc. and I’m so freaking excited that I don’t even care that my life is total & utter hell these days & that I haven’t left the house in 3 months.

  11. Leon says:

    I’d rather see a Matthew McConaughey in stead of James Franco. Although he wasn’t quite bad in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
    Further on I hope this one will be good. I stopped watching Under The Dome because it was nothing compared with the book and let’s just not talk about Bag of Bones. What a drag that was and I find Bag of Bones one of the best books by King’s hand

  12. peter says:

    James Franco and his people should have been a lot more careful about Franco’s exposure and public persona and more serious about his acting career and future. The public takes Hardy, Fassbender, Cumberbach, McAvoy, Jake G., Jackman, even Wahlberg, Matthew Mc, Leonardo, Gosling, etc. seriously. James Franco? I don’t know any more and a lot of people don’t care either.

  13. Audrey solino says:

    Gonna b awesome

  14. Angie says:

    Stephen King and James Franco! My two favorites!

  15. Rhonda says:

    Loved the book just hope they don’t change this one up like they did with “Under the Dome”. So disappointed with the series that I couldn’t continue to watch it.

  16. Kim Humphrey says:

    I can hardly wait too see this…the book kicked ass….

  17. Laura Lea says:

    it should be on NETFLIX not HULU!!!! This is one of Stephen Kings Best!!!!!

  18. Mimi says:

    I LOVE this book, it is Kings best in YEARS, I was thrilled that it was going to get a long mini series treatment, but I think this is a HORRIBLE miscasting, I mean we’re talking Batfleck bad, I am so disappointed :(

  19. G,C,Thelen says:

    I loved the book, and I was hoping they would turn it into a mini series. However, I don’t see James Franco as the lead character. Maybe it’ll work out.

  20. angie says:

    Great read!

  21. Matthew says:

    James Franco will be playing George Amberson. Does this mean we can expect Seth Rogen to be playing Sadie Dunhill?

  22. julie says:

    The main character in the book was quite tall, 6’3″ or so. Quite tall. That characteristic plays an important part in the story. James Franco is 5’11”. Once again a wonderful tale by Stephen King adapted onto television misses the mark. Will they ever get it right?

  23. P Thomas says:

    Amazing Book and an amazing actor for this till! Can’t wait!

  24. Tom says:

    LOVED the book and was anxious for a film version BUT let’s hope they avoid the disaster that was “Under the Dome”! Perhaps on HULU we’ll get better quality. As for Franco, he can be a fine actor so it will be interesting to see how he does with the role.

  25. Call Me Disappointed says:

    One of the best King tomes to come along in years. But seriously…the over-exposed Franco? Sad to say, but I’ll be skipping this one…and I was so looking forward to a long-form adaptation.

  26. Victor Williams says:

    I actually don’t like Franco for this role. I always imagined more of a Jon Hamm type.

  27. William Harrison says:

    Loved the book, couldn’t put it down! If the series is half as good it’ll be a definite watch for me!!

  28. This should be great. This is the perfect format for this great story.

  29. Wilda Esponda says:

    OMG…I read the book and loved loved it. I am a Kennedy freak so it was interesting to see where Stephen King would take this story and needless to say i was hyped from the first page to the last. I hope the mini series does it justice.

  30. TOM says:

    He needs to go away for the next 2 years.

  31. Jason Green says:

    Hell yeah! Should be awesome!

  32. My boyfriend and my favorite book! What wonderful news!

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