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Castle Rock showrunner: ‘We wanted to see Annie’s side of the story’ in season 2

By James Comtois
Lizzy Caplan Castle Rock

Two of Stephen King’s most famous (human) villains -- Annie Wilkes and Ace Merrill -- meet up in the Season 2 premiere of Hulu’s Castle Rock. And don’t expect the two to hit it off and go out for ice cream.

At the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Hulu and Bad Robot screened the episode of the show’s sophomore season, which introduces us to a young Annie Wilkes (played by Lizzy Caplan) and her daughter, Joy (Elsie Fisher), who crash-land in Castle Rock before the town is ready to celebrate its 400th anniversary.

Annie and Joy lie low in a house owned by Ace (making him their landlord) while they wait for their car to be repaired, and Annie gets a job as a nurse in the local hospital in the hopes of swiping some anti-psychotics she needs (her grasp on reality seems ... tenuous, at best). Meanwhile, Ace (Paul Sparks) is having some difficulties with his cousin Abdi Omar (Barkhad Abdi), who’s “poaching” his tenants for a Somali Community Center being built in the nearby town of Jerusalem’s Lot.

The series also stars Tim Robbins as Ace’s uncle, Reginald “Pop” Merrill, Yusra Warsama as Dr. Nadia Omar, the medical director of the hospital Annie works at, and Matthew Alan as Ace’s brother Chris.

Following the screening, which SYFY WIRE attended, series showrunner Dustin Thomason told attendees that Annie Wilkes “was always the crown jewel of characters” that the show’s creators wanted to explore “before we see her with Paul Sheldon” in Misery.

Caplan, who was also on the panel, added that the Annie Wilkes we see in Misery as portrayed by Kathy Bates “is already very isolated,” and wanted to play a version of the character before she got that way. 

"Our Annie is still out and about in the world,” said Caplan. “She has a job. She has to take care of her daughter. So that immediately gives her different layers."

Caplan added that audiences will get to see over the course of the season why Annie ultimately decides to live alone in that house when we see her in Misery.

“When we first meet Annie [in Misery], we see her from Paul's point of view,” said Thomason. “We wanted to see Annie’s side of the story.”

And although this season of Castle Rock is looking to provide Annie's side to the story, it's very clear she's a very, very dangerous person who's not to be trifled with. You'll see.

The misery begins when Castle Rock’s second season debuts on Oct. 23 on Hulu.

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