Stephen King's time-travel saga about a man trying to stop the Kennedy assassination is finally getting filmed.
11/22/63 is one of King's most ambitious novels ever, a massive story that's as much about exploring a particular period in American history as it is about going back in time to stop one of America's most memorable tragedies, and upon its release in 2011 it was met with loads of acclaim. The novel was so buzzed-about that, months before its release, director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) was already set to adapt it for the big screen. Demme's deal with King eventually fell through, though, and in 2013 J.J. Abrams picked up the rights to the project for his Bad Robot production company. Just last week we were wondering when Abrams and company would finally do something with those rights, and now we have our answer.
Hulu announced today that they've given 11/22/63 a straight-to-series order, and that the novel will be adapted by writer Bridget Carpenter (Friday Night Lights) into a nine-hour miniseries, marking a major coup for the streaming service as it continues its push for original programming.
“If I ever wrote a book that cries out for longform, event TV programming, 11/22/63 is it," King said as part of the announcement. "I’m excited that it’s going to happen, and am looking forward to working with J.J. Abrams and the whole Bad Robot team.”
For those of you who don't know, 11/22/63 (named for the date of Kennedy's assassination) is the story of high school teacher Jake Epping, who's given access to a portal to the past by his friend Al Templeton. Al, who's dying of cancer, asks Jake to carry out the mission of preventing JFK's assassination, believing that stopping that tragedy will alter the present day for the better, but explains that the portal has a very specific set of rules, one of which being that Jake can only travel to a specific moment in 1958, and must simply live out the years leading up to 1963. Along the way, he tracks the development of Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, falls in love and prepares for his mission, all the while knowing that time itself doesn't want some events to change.
We don't know yet when we'll see the series, or who'll star in it, but this is good news for fans of King's novel who want to experience an adaptation that doesn't carve huge sections of story out in favor of stripping things down to the running time of a feature film. 11/22/63 is a big book for a reason, and it looks like Hulu's hoping to celebrate that.