9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Castle Rock': Lizzy Caplan, Tim Robbins, Elsie Fisher to Star in 'Misery'-Themed Season 2
Hulu's Castle Rock is getting the Misery treatment in season two.
The anthology, from J.J. Abrams and Stephen King, will put a new spin on Kathy Bates' famed nurse Annie Wilkes, with Lizzy Caplan set to take on the leading role in the sophomore season.
Season two will explore a feud between warring clans that comes to a boil when budding psychopath Wilkes, King's nurse from hell, gets waylaid in Castle Rock.
Joining Caplan — one of pilot season's most in-demand actresses — are Tim Robbins (Here and Now), Eighth Grade breakout Elsie Fisher, Garrett Hedlund (Tron, Mosaic), Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips, Blade Runner 2049), Yusra Warsama (Call the Midwife) and Matthew Alan (Lovecraft Country, 13 Reasons Why).
Robbins will play Reginald "Pop" Merrill, the famed patriarch of King's iconic crime family who is dying of cancer and is at a reckoning with his family. Hedlund will play John "Ace" Merrill, the town of Castle Rock's legendary bully who is taking over his uncle Po's business and is threatening a fragile peace with nearby Jerusalem's Lot. Alan will portray Chris Merrill, Pop's nephew and Ace's brother, who struggles to keep peace between the Merrills and the Somali community.
Warsama will play Dr. Nadia Omar, the Harvard-trained Somali medical director of a rural hospital in Jerusalem's Lot whose rational and scientific mind will be put to the test. Abdi will play Abdi Omar, Nadia's tough older brother, who leads the charge to build a Somali community center that will deepen the roots of his people in Maine.
Fisher will play Joy, Annie's home-schooled teenage daughter who is starting to have questions about her mother's sanity. Caplan takes on Bates' iconic 1990 Misery role of Annie, a nurse and superfan battling to overcome mental health issues.
Robbins' "Pop" Merrill was featured in King's novella The Sun Dog, published in his 1990 collection Four Past Midnight. That story was set in the town of Castle Rock, where the Hulu anthology takes place. "Ace" Merrill (played by Hedlund) was featured in King's 1991 horror novel Needful Things, and perhaps most famously by Kiefer Sutherland in 1986's Stand by Me (which moved Castle Rock to Oregon).
It's unclear if any of the Castle Rock season one castmembers could return for the second season, which will feature a new storyline as showrunners Dustin Thomason and Sam Shaw plan to tell a new and complete story every cycle. Season one starred Andre Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Bill Skarsgard, Jane Levy and Sissy Spacek.
"Each season is going to be its own self-contained story: beginning, middle and end," Thomason told The Hollywood Reporter. "But I think that just as the books do, we want to surprise viewers with the ways in which the stories intersect. Just as the places the characters pop up in very unexpected ways throughout the books, that's the kind of anthology that we would like to tell. One of the things about the King universe, or multiverse, is that some very strange things can happen when it comes to the ways that the stories unfold, and hopefully there will be surprises along the way in terms of how the anthology works in that way.
"It's pretty delicious that Kathy Bates played both Dolores Claiborne and Annie Wilkes, when you really think about that question in the movie adaptations," he continued. "But I think that there's something for us about being faithful to the way that Steve does it in the books that almost feels like the anthology format has already been laid out for us."
Castle Rock hails from Warner Bros. TV-based Bad Robot Productions. Abrams, Bad Robot topper Ben Stephenson, Thomason, Vince Calandra, Shaw, King and Liz Glotzer executive produce.
Caplan's credits include Apple's upcoming Are You Sleeping, Masters of Sex and the features Now You See Me 2, Cloverfield, Mean Girls and Hot Tub Time Machine, among others. She is repped by WME, Independent Talent Group, Rise Management and Jackoway Austen.
Robbins most recently starred in HBO's short-lived Alan Ball family drama Here and Now and counts a leading role in King's The Shawshank Redemption among his numerable credits. He is with ICM Partners.
Hedlund (Mudbound) is repped by WME, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Sloane Offer; Warsama is with United Agents; Abdi is repped by SMS Talent; Fisher is with Innovative; and Alan is repped by AKA Talent Agency and Main Title.
A premiere date for season two of Castle Rock has not yet been determined.