Thursday, April 22, 2021

A Conversation with Stephen King About His New Apple TV+ Series ‘Lisey’s Story’ [EUR Exclusive]

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*Apple TV+ has revealed a first look at “Lisey’s Story,” the highly anticipated Apple Original limited series from creator and executive producer Stephen King, executive producer J.J. Abrams, director and executive producer Pablo Larraín, and starring and executive produced by Academy Award-winner Julianne Moore

Based on the best-selling novel by King, and adapted by the author himself, “Lisey’s Story” is a deeply personal thriller that follows Lisey Landon (played by Moore) two years after the death of her husband, famous novelist Scott Landon (played by Clive Owen). A series of unsettling events causes Lisey to face memories of her marriage to Scott that she has deliberately blocked out of her mind. 

EURweb.com correspondent Ny Magee caught up with the cast and crew at the Television Critics Association Winter 2021 Press Tour last month, asking both King and Abrams how the COVID pandemic, politics, and ongoing rise of racial tensions in America has inspired any future dark material or horror tales that they want to tell going forward. 

“I think coronavirus in itself presents real challenges for the writer and for the filmmaker. God knows all the people that are on this panel know what we went through with coronavirus because we were shut down for a long time,” said King. “And there’s a question about going forward.  But as far as the political climate, the racial climate, all those things inform my work, but the thing that I concentrate on most is the story.”

READ MORE: A Conversation with Byron Allen About His Legacy and Cultural Impact

Lisey's Story _ Apple TV+ TCA first look image
“Lisey’s Story”: First Look at Apple TV’s Stephen King Adaptation

Abrams chimed in with, “And I’m guessing that everyone on this panel is informed always by the context in which they create their work.  And no doubt this is going to be — everything that we’re in, and we are so in the eye of the storm that it’s a bit hard to talk about it with any kind of clarity or perspective.  And I think that that will come from the work itself, which is I think part of the reason why stories exist at all, which is to help make sense of things that are often seemingly random and arbitrary and, in some cases, very well-planned.  But I think that stories are there to give people a sense of meaning and inevitability and moral which sometimes life itself doesn’t have.  So I think clearly it will reflect in the world that everyone on this panel and far beyond does.  

EP Ben Stephenson added, “It’s funny because I was thinking this yesterday that when we started filming — well, we filmed most of this before coronavirus and then we shut down in March — and it felt, very clearly, about something.  And then doing it now in post — not post, but in the middle of coronavirus, you see it very differently in the themes of isolation, of loneliness, of how you view the past really come through in a completely different way.  So although those things aren’t deliberately there, you can’t help but put those in somewhere I think.”

King also noted, “You know what really gave me a chill was, there’s a scene where we see Lisey come into a hospital room and she’s wearing the mask, and I just thought to myself, my God, this is what we’re all doing now.”

We’ve seen several of King’s books adapted for the small screen in recent years, when asked during the panel if he had a favorite example of someone’s portrayal of one of his characters, King explained: “I loved Julianne Moore and Clive in “Lisey’s Story.”  I think that they were fantastic.  And there’s also a guy named Dane DeHaan who plays in the series.  I don’t want to say too much about him, but I loved his performance.  Those are some of my favorite people,” he said. 

“Of course I liked Christopher Walken as ‘Johnny Smith.’  There are a lot of different people that I really loved in some of the different things. James Franco in “11.22.63” was fantastic,” he continued.

King reportedly wrote the novel for “Lisey’s Story” after he was hospitalized for double pneumonia for three weeks, and his wife redecorated his office in his absence. When asked about his wife’s feelings on having such a personal story told via “Lisey’s Story,” King said… “As far as my wife’s view, she kind of says, “Okay, I understand what you’re doing here and I know that you have to follow your creative muse. But kind of like leave me out of it as much as you can. Fictionalize these people as much as you can and let’s step back from anything that’s too personal.”  So I try to do that,” he explained. ”I try to satisfy both sides of it, the reality side and the fictional side. And it worked out pretty well. And certainly, Julianne and Clive are ‘Scott’ and ‘Lisey,’ they’re not Steve and Tabby, so it worked out.”

“Lisey’s Story” is set to make its global debut this summer on Apple TV+.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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