Stephen King told J.J. Abrams that he really digs Hulu's new series Castle Rock

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May 24, 2018, 4:00 PM EDT

When you’re adapting the work of one of history’s most iconic and prolific horror writers, it’s always encouraging when the finished product gets the official seal of approval straight from the source. So when Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason, creators of Hulu’s upcoming Castle Rock series, read King’s thumbs-up review of the show’s pilot episode, they were understandably stoked.

“It was a very, very cool moment, when J.J. [Abrams] forwarded us the email,” Shaw told Entertainment Weekly as part of an in-depth feature ahead of the show’s summer premiere. “You want to be sure that when Stephen King watches your Stephen King show, he’s happy.”

Abrams, one of Castle Rock’s executive producers, forwarded along King’s good vibes after the horror master emailed him his impressions of the show’s first outing. But Abrams himself also sounds excited about the series, telling EW he knew from the beginning that Castle Rock was “going to be so much fun.”

“There were things they were pitching that were truly terrifying and truly creepy,” said Abrams of his first encounter with Shaw and Thomason’s ideas, which place King’s characters in the same fictional Maine town that’s served as a backdrop for novels like The Dead Zone, Cujo, and The Dark Half.

“Our intention was always to tell an original story in the tune of Stephen King,” Thomason said, adding that the idea for a serialized storyline set in the austere, foreboding town is “to think about the kinds of people who have the grit to stick it out in a place that’s been terrorized over and over again. Who stays in a place like that?”

Starring King alums Bill Skarsgård and Sissy Spacek, as well as Melanie Lynskey, André Holland, Jane Levy, Terry O'Quinn, Frank L. Ridley, and Chosen Jacobs, Castle Rock’s first episode is set to land at Hulu on July 25.

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