The Daily Beast has a nice interview with Stephen King about JFK, Oscars Diversity, and ‘Bulletproof’ Donald Trump
Stephen King Talks JFK, Oscars Diversity, and ‘Bulletproof’ Donald Trump
There are few words more reassuring to cinemagoers than “based on a novel by Stephen King.” The wildly prolific author’s books, which have sold 350 million-plus copies, also inspired some of the most celebrated films of the past five decades, from The Shining to The Shawshank Redemption. But King, who is 68, has had far worse luck on the small screen, where many of his projects have fizzled.
That should change with 11.22.63. Executive produced by King and J.J. Abrams, the Hulu miniseries is an adaptation of his sprawling novel of the same name about an English teacher in King’s native state of Maine (played by James Franco) who is tasked with going back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, thereby preventing a string of catastrophes like the Vietnam War. Along the way, he investigates whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and finds himself torn between the past and the present after falling for a fetching Dallas librarian (Sarah Gadon).
Did you watch the assassination of JFK on the news, and what effect did that have on you?
We watched, my mother, my brother, and I. I got out of school and lived in a little town south of Waterville, Maine, and this guy who drove a bunch of us kids back and forth, he never played the radio, and that afternoon the radio was on. He said, “Some son of a bitch just killed the president.” And we were just stunned to silence. We saw everything that happened after that. My mother was a rock-ribbed Republican but she cried her eyes out; she kept talking about the little kids that he had. We were watching Sunday with our dinner in our laps to see Oswald transferred from the lockup in Dallas to the bigger jail, and we saw him assassinated on live TV. Our jaws just dropped. We couldn’t believe it.
Why do you feel that this tragedy has birthed more conspiracy theories than any other moment in American history?
Because Jack Ruby shut Oswald’s mouth before he could talk about what he had done. Oswald was taken into custody and said the things anyone would say initially—“I didn’t do it,” “I was a patsy”—and that’s where the conversation ended. The reason there’s been all the conspiracy talk is because Oswald never broke down and said, “I did this,” but also what it says at the front of 11/22/63, the Norman Mailer quote: We find it difficult to believe that one lone wingnut with a gun could kill the most powerful man in the world. But we’ve seen it time and time and time again. We saw it with John Lennon—that was no conspiracy, it was just a crazy lone gunman who killed him. Bridget Carpenter, the showrunner, came to disagree with me, but I think Oswald was acting alone.