Melanie Lynskey on ‘Castle Rock’ and Getting Stephen King’s Approval

     July 22, 2018

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From show co-creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason and executive producer J.J. Abrams, the Hulu psychological-horror series Castle Rock is an original story set in the Stephen King multi-verse that mines his best-loved works and plays with themes of darkness and light, all while set in this small Maine town that is full of strange occurrences, mysteries and all manner of sin. Castle Rock is a place with a history that is clearly unsettling, and as its mysteries start to unravel, audiences will want to follow all of the twists and turns to its sure to be creepy conclusion. The series stars André Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Sissy Spacek, Bill Skarsgård, Jane Levy and Scott Glenn.

During this phone interview with Collider, actress Melanie Lynskey (who plays Castle Rock real estate agent Molly Strand) talked about what drew her to Castle Rock, how validating it is to have Stephen King’s approval, what she found most intriguing about her character, working with the talented André Holland, the seasonal anthology aspect of the storytelling, how Molly’s affliction will affect her, and how surprised she was with all of the season’s twists and turns.

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Image via Hulu

Collider:  I’ve watched the first four episodes, and even though I’m still not sure exactly what’s going on yet, I’m very much enjoying the show and I’m excited to see where it all ends up.

MELANIE LYNSKEY:  That’s good to hear.

As a Stephen King fan, I love that this is inspired by his works, but it’s not a direct adaptation because then you have no idea where it’s going to end up. 

LYNSKEY:  That was one of the aspects that drew me to it as well. I’m also a Stephen King fan, and there is always that thing when you love a book and you’re like, “Please get it right!” There’s Carrie, there’s The Shining, and there’s IT. There are a lot of great Stephen King movies, but when they don’t get it right, that’s really unfortunate.

Yeah, for sure. When this came your way, how was it presented to you? How much were you actually told about what this would be?

LYNSKEY:  I had quite a long Skype meeting with [show creators] Dusty [Thomason] and Sam [Shaw] about it because I read the pilot and Molly is not in the pilot very much. So, we had a meeting to talk about where the character was going to go and where the show itself was going to go, and they were very quick to put aside the Stephen King thing. They said that it was a big inspiration for them, and that they love and respect him, but that they would not be doing a straight-up adaptation, and explained that they have their own story and vision. It was very comforting, so I had to sign on.

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Image via Hulu

Was it very validating to have Stephen King essentially give his thumbs up to the show?

LYNSKEY:  Oh, yes! I read that he had seen it and approved of it. I don’t think I realized how tense I was about it until I read that and was like, “Oh, thank god! Okay.”

What was it about this show, this story, and this character that most excited you about being a part of it?

LYNSKEY:  I found her very intriguing. She’s in this awful town where all of these terrible things just happened and she’s really desperate to make it better. It’s this strange thing where she’s stuck in this cycle and can’t really get out. She could just go somewhere else and start over, but she is refusing to, and I wanted to investigate that and some of her coping mechanisms a little bit. I found it really interesting. I was like, “Oh, this person is repressing a lot. She’s really not dealing with things in the best way.” Playing all of that sounded really interesting. Also, André Holland was doing it before I signed on, so that was a big plus.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between your characters. I think it’s one of the more interesting elements of the show.

LYNSKEY:  Aw, that’s so sweet. I feel like André is in a different league, to me. I saw Moonlight and I was like, “Oh, that guy is going to get an Oscar nomination. He is amazing!” And I was a fan of The Knick. He’s just a movie star waiting to happen. He’s so great!

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Image via Hulu

This really is such a great cast from such interesting and varied backgrounds.

LYNSKEY:  That’s so true! And Bill [Skarsgård] was a great surprise. I hadn’t seen him in anything and he has so much depth. He’s such an interesting actor and just a sweet old soul. It was really lovely.

Did you know, from the beginning, that this would be an anthology series that would tell a complete story, and then follow different characters in different seasons?

LYNSKEY:  I did because we had to do a deal and it was one season. We all knew, and there were times when we were like, “Aw, how sad! I wish we could keep doing it.” There were times when it was so hard and cold and we were all like, “Whew, one season is about all I can take!”

Especially with your character, it seems like things get emotionally intense for her a lot, so it seems that could get very exhausting.

LYNSKEY:  Yeah, there was so much emotion. We started filming in Massachusetts in July, and it was great and beautiful. Then, we were filming until the end of January and we were sitting there like, “I cannot go into the woods again. I just can’t! I’m so cold!”

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Image via Hulu

What’s it like to be a real estate agent in a town that no one wants to live in or move to?

LYNSKEY:  That was one of the really fascinating things to me. I was like, “Why would you choose this job?” She has this plan for Castle Rock. I feel like she went to Portland once and she was like, “This is what Castle Rock could be!” She had this vision of this sweet little town with coffee shops and great restaurants. I don’t quite know why she’s so committed to improving the town. It’s not like she’s a real estate agent because there’s nothing else to do. She really believes in revitalizing the town in this way that is so funny to me. She just really doesn’t want to give up. That’s an interesting thing.

Television