SDCC 2018: Cast of ‘Castle Rock’ Tease First Season Mysteries

Hulu’s latest horror offering, Castle Rock, promises thrills and chills as well as insight into the human condition. Stars Melanie Lynskey, Jane Levy, and Bill Skarsgård sat down with us at San Diego Comic Con prior to the July 25th premiere in order to share some of the show’s secrets. Check out the videos below and prepare to revisit Shawshank Prison.

Actor Bill Skarsgård is no stranger to the world of Stephen King, seeing as he already played Pennywise in last year’s hit ItBut it was that very familiarity that made him hesitant to take on another role in the same universe. “I was reluctant to do it in the beginning, because I didn’t get to read the script or anything. They just reached out that they were interested in me for a role with a short two sentence description,” he explained. But once he did read the pilot, he was delighted by what he saw. “This is a completely different world, an original world, and this character is so different from [Pennywise]… This guy’s so reserved.”

With so many reservations surrounding the Mysterious Prisoner, how does Skarsgård step into character? “I did not know how the show ended or where my character was going,” the actor said. “It was important for me… to know what my character knows at any given point.” This was a sticking point for him precisely because “There’s an evolution in the character. He starts off maybe not remembering exactly everything, or who he is, and then there’s a shift.”

The tone of Castle Rock is also different from It, according to Skarsgård. “This is more creepy than horror, maybe more mystery than horror.” While the movie was full of jump scares and intense visuals, the new Hulu series relies more on atmosphere. “It’s more of a slower build with a kind of weird story as opposed to sort of your traditional horror.”

While there are plenty of mysterious plots awaiting fans, actress Melanie Lynskey (who plays Molly Strand) is most excited for them to see the performances. “I got to work mostly with Bill, and a lot of what he was doing was so meticulous,” she gushed. “I’m very excited for people to see his journey.” As for her own journey, Lynskey described her character as, “a real estate agent in Castle Rock, which is a horrible career choice. Nobody wants to live there, nobody wants to buy property there.”

Despite the grim prospects of her position and the ugliness surrounding the town, Molly sticks with it as a way to make amends for her complicated history with Castle Rock. “She feels a deep responsibility to make things better for everybody, but at the same time she’s very resentful about some elements of her personality.” This mix of resentment and resilience, considering how dire things get in the town, is something that Lynskey admired quite a bit about her role. “She really believes that Castle Rock can be something different, and it’s quite sweet,” Lynskey added.

Her take on the adaptation aspect of the series was that a commitment to Stephen King stories was not a viewership requirement. “It’s not a straight up adaptation. I’m a Stephen King fan, and sometimes I didn’t understand the references. And when I didn’t, it’s just like a beautiful vignette,” she described. “But it didn’t feel necessary to my understanding of the story.” That being said, she still did the research in order to convey every moment properly to the audience, whether they caught the novel being referenced or not.

Jane Levy plays Jackie, who is “the self-proclaimed historian of Castle Rock, and she’s also the one taxi driver in town.” Levy likened her character to many King fans, who are very into the lore. “She’s really proud of being from Castle Rock. She’s grown up with all these legends of supernatural, scary things that have happened in this town, but nothing’s ever happened while she’s been alive.” In a different context, she explained, “It’s as if you’re from New York City now and you’ve heard about NYC in the 80s.”

The events of the premiere really get things going for Jackie, who is also “She’s the town snoop, always getting her nose in everyone’s business.” With the discovery of the prisoner in Shawshank, she finally has a mystery to solve. And solving macabre problems may be something the actress herself has in common with her character. “I think I have perverted sensibilities, and I get excited by pushing limits and starting shit.”

Castle Rock sounds like it’ll be pushing a lot of limits in general, so remember to watch the premiere tomorrow on Hulu. And come back to for more interviews with other casts!