Stephen King is known for being an extremely prolific author, not only in terms of the number of books that he has produced over the course of his career, but also in terms of their respective page counts. Time travel story 11/22/63 is no exception to the rule, with over 900 pages following the story of a man who goes back in time to 1963 in an attempt to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The daunting length of the novel ultimately led to director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) abandoning a planned film adaptation due to disagreements with King over which plot elements from the book should be prioritized for inclusion. After that the novel drew the attention of J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot, which picked up 11/22/63 for adaptation into a TV series last year.
Apparently that development process concluded with a solid pitch, because on-demand streaming site Hulu announced today that it has picked up 11/22/63 for distribution in the U.S., with Warner Bros. Televison taking charge of global distribution. The project has been ordered direct-to-series, and is described as a nine-hour event, which could potentially break down into nine hour-long episodes or six 90-minute episodes.
Although the premise might sound simple, the protagonist of 11/22/63 – a high school English teacher called Jake Epping – soon finds that there’s a little more to changing history than simply going back in time and killing or apprehending Lee Harvey Oswald. Arriving in 1958, not 1963, he must first investigate Oswald in order to work out exactly what led the young man to assassinate the president, all the while juggling a love affair with a school librarian and learning that shaping history is easier said than done.
Since Abrams is currently quite busy with another project, 11/22/63 is being written and executive produced by Bridget Carpenter (Dead Like Me), who describes Stephen King as one of her literary heroes. There are currently no details as to when we can expect to see 11/22/63 on Hulu, but now that it’s been picked up for distribution things should start moving a lot more quickly. Perhaps by this time next year we’ll be reviewing the series.
Stephen King’s works lend themselves well to the TV series or miniseries format and have been adapted this way several times, including miniseries like IT, Rose Red and The Stand and long-form series Under the Dome, the second season of which is currently airing on CBS. 11/22/63 was well-received by critics upon its publication in 2011 and could easily make for a compelling sci-fi drama. It’s just a shame that the title is so awkward.
We’ll keep you updated on 11/22/63 as development continues.