Stephen King & J.J. Abrams' 11/22/63 miniseries has found its star

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Jan 11, 2016, 5:10 PM EST (Updated)

Stephen King fans were thrilled last September when it was revealed that the genre master's massive novel 11/22/63 would be adapted, not as a film, but as a nine-hour miniseries that will stream on Hulu. King himself said at the time that adapting the book in a long-form style was a perfect fit, and readers agree, not just because of the novel's size, but because of its focus on character development over years, pacing and the theme of the passage of time itself. Writer Bridget Carpenter (Friday Night Lights) is scripting the series for J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company, and King will serve as an executive producer. Now we finally know who'll play the series' central character.

The Wrap reports that James Franco (Spider-ManThe Interview) has signed on to play the leading role in the series, and will also serve as a producer. Franco will play Jake Epping, a high school English teacher who is given access to a portal that takes him back to 1958, but only to a specific moment. Every time you go back through to the present, the portal resets, so the only way to get time to pass is to simply live permanently in the past. When a dying friend asks him to undertake the mission of preventing the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 and, hopefully, creating a better present in the process, Jake walks through the portal and simply begins living out a new life, spending the five years between 1958 and 1963 tracking JFK's eventual assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, falling in love, and struggling against time to prevent a great American tragedy.

Franco is known for the diversity of the projects he chooses, working in everything from big-budget genre films (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) to hard-R comedies (The Interview) to indie dramas (Child of God) and even TV soap operas (General Hospital). He's got a lot of range, a lot of enthusiasm and a history of working on literary adaptations, so he could be a perfect fit for 11/22/63

We'll let you know as soon as we find out when 11/22/63 finally hits Hulu.

(Via The Wrap)