Hulu has signed James Franco to star in their new series based on Stephen King’s 11/22/63, a time travel drama that will be produced by J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot Productions. King’s book was released in 2011, and made a number of best seller lists before being optioned by Warner Brothers.
The partnership between Hulu and Abrams marks the first time the producer is working with the network. The streaming television provider is planning for 11/22/63 to be a nine-hour miniseries. Not only will Franco be starring in the program, but he will also be one of the producers. This is not the first time that the actor has been a part of a television program. He has also been seen on General Hospital as well as Freaks and Geeks, however this latest project will be his largest television role up to this point.
In 11/22/63, which is being described as both a thriller, as well as a time travel drama, Franco is set to star as Jake Epping, an English teacher in high school, who ends up traveling back in time in an effort to prevent the assassination of John F Kennedy. Unfortunately for Epping, a number of obstacles get in the way of his attempt to change the course of history. Among the things that the teacher has to contend with are a possible love interest, Lee Harvey Oswald and of course the past itself, which seemingly does not want to be altered.
In the new Hulu series starring Franco, the expectations are that the entire story will be told fully in the nine hours allotted. Although there is some question as to what happens following the miniseries run, everything depends on how well the project performs overall. If the program does well, there is the possibility of a franchise based on the story idea of an individual traveling back in time to different historical events in an effort to make a difference.
This particular project was initially announced back in 2014. At the time of the announcement, Abrams issued a statement about the opportunity to work on the series, as well as with the author on the project. He said that since he was in junior high school, he had been a fan of King and his work. The producer said that this opportunity to work with the author is a dream for him. In addition, he said that the fact that it was also on a story that he described as being imaginative, compelling and emotional, made this collaboration even better.
Franco is not the first big screen star to head to television. Other large screen stars to make their way to the small screen include Halle Berry, Kevin Bacon, Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell. The lure of the small screen and streaming networks seems to stem from the limited number of episodes plus the risks creatively that can be taken.
The new series starring Franco on Hulu, is not the first original scripted offering from the streaming network. The network also has the comedy, Casual and another program Difficult People. At this time there is no premier date for the upcoming program 11/22/63.
By Kimberley Spinney
Photo by Tara Giancaspro – License