×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

J.J. Abrams and Cast of ‘11.22.63’ Talk JFK Assassination, Stephen King

Hulu’s upcoming event series “11.22.63” — which debuts on February 15 — is based on the novel by Stephen King, which imagines a world where the main character goes back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Executive producers J.J. Abrams and showrunner Bridget Carpenter and the cast — including James Franco, Josh Duhamel, T.R. Knight and Chris Cooper — recounted their experiences filming the provocative drama in a panel Saturday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

The series filmed mainly in Toronto, but spent time in Dallas for key scenes recreating that fateful day. The production got incredible access to all the key sites, including the Texas School Book Depository, and shut down Dealey Plaza for a day. The experience affected the cast deeply.

“It hit me hard, being in Dallas,” said Carpenter.

Franco called the experience “eerie,” he said. ‘It felt like revisiting but also that we were doing something new that hadn’t been done before.”

TR Knight said, “Your skin feels different. It feels like you’re going to a wake.”

They all said they’d read the book before filming. Franco said he’d even tried to secure the rights, but learned they’d already been locked up by Abrams. Luckily, Abrams offered him the starring role. Franco went on to direct an episode as well — “in his spare time,” joked Carpenter. As the star, Franco appears in nearly every scene.

Necessary changes were made to the series, including expanding a minor character so that they could avoid giving the series a voiceover. “The people who have read and loved the book will be deeply satisfied,” said Carpenter.

Abrams said Stephen King responded positively to all the changes they made. “They were necessary and he saw that,” he said. Abrams was effusive with praise for the novelist, who he’d begun a close relationship with during the “Lost” days. He recounted a story of going to see the movie “The Descent” with him and “Lost” showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. “Every time someone died on screen, he would cheer,” said King.

Watch the official trailer for “11.22.63” here:

More TV

  • CHAMBERS

    'Chambers' Canceled After One Season at Netflix

    Netflix has canceled the drama series “Chambers” after one season. The series followed a teenager who gets a heart transplant and becomes consumed with the mystery surrounding her donor. The series starred Uma Thurman, Tony Goldwyn, Sivan Alyra Rose, Lilliya Reid, Nicholas Galitzine, Kyanna Simone Simpson, Lilli Kay, Sarah Mezzanotte, and Griffin Powell-Arcand. Leah Rachel [...]

  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

    TV News Roundup: 'The Daily Show with Trevor Noah' to Air Live After Democratic Debates

    In today’s roundup, Trevor Noah announces two live specials after the first Democratic debates and the new season of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” sets a premiere date. SPECIALS “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” will broadcast live following the Democratic Party’s first 2020 presidential primary debates on June 26 and 27 at 11 p.m. ET on Comedy Central. [...]

  • Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Refusing

    Writers Guild 'Plans to Respond' to Agents' Proposal as Frustration Mounts

    In a sign of increasing frustration, Hollywood agents have accused the Writers Guild of America of foot-dragging in the bitter two-month dispute. “It has become clear as more days pass that the Guild is not interested in making a deal,” said the negotiating committee for the agents in statement issued Tuesday. “Over the past year, [...]

  • Samantha Bee Variety

    Samantha Bee Isn't Thrilled to Be the Last Woman Standing in Late Night

    Samantha Bee is now the only female host in late night, and that’s a stat she’s not happy about. “It’s a bit unsettling,” Bee recently told Variety. “It’s been a bad year to be a woman in this space. It’s not really a badge that I want to wear.” Shows that have been canceled over [...]

  • XXXTentacion

    Watch a Trailer for New XXXTentacion Documentary

    A year to the day after rapper XXXTentacion was murdered, his estate has released a trailer for an upcoming documentary on the artist, which the announcement says is “releasing soon.” The clip, which includes narration from X himself, captures quick flashes of him reuniting with family and friends, engaging with fans, and working on music. In the [...]

  • The-Saddest-Goal

    Fascism and Fútbol Feature in Chilean Series Project ‘The Saddest Goal’

    PAMPLONA, Spain – Chilean production company Manufactura de Películas pitched its unconventional Pinochet-era drama “The Saddest Goal” today at Spain’s Conecta Fiction TV co-production and networking TV event, held in Pamplona. Set during qualification for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, a period of great political instability in Chile, “The Saddest Goal” kicks off as the [...]

  • Spain’s La Claqueta, Portugal’s SPi Ink

    Conecta Fiction: La Claqueta and SPi Ink Fiction Co-Production Pact

    Spain’s Seville-based shingle La Claqueta and Portugal’s SPi have clinched a co-development agreement for three fiction projects a year. Companies first made contact at last year’s Conecta Fiction, the annual co-production meet in Spain. The companies have also pacted to co-produce the animated feature-length docu “El viaje más largo” in collaboration with Portuguese pubcaster RTP [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content