J.J. Abrams, Julianne Moore on teaming with Stephen King for 'Lisey's Story': 'He’s part of everything we've done'

·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read

Stephen King has published over 60 novels and 200 short stories — selling more than 350 million copies in the process — including favorites like Carrie (1974), The Shining (1977), The Stand (1978), It (1986), Misery (1987), The Green Mile (1996), Doctor Sleep (2013) and The Outsider (2018).

But it’s the generally less celebrated Lisey’s Story, King’s 2006 novel about a widow dealing with the aftermath of her bestselling writer husband’s death, intertwined, of course, with the author’s usual supernatural flourishes, that he’s called his favorite.

It’s safe to assume that producers J.J. Abrams and Julianne Moore then took to heart the responsibility of adapting the novel into a new eight-episode limited series on Apple TV+.

“It’s a personal story because it was created in a very difficult time for him,” Abrams told Yahoo Entertainment during a recent virtual press day for the series (watch above). In 1999, King sustained multiple serious injuries when a distracted driver in a minivan plowed into him as he walked through his Maine neighborhood. “His wife, Tabitha, was rearranging his office and he came back and he saw his office and it made him wonder, ‘What if I would’ve passed away? What would have happened with Tabitha and me and my work and my life?’ I think in writing this book he was working through a lot of issues that he was grappling with post-accident.

“When he reached out to ask if we’d be interested in producing it, I was thrilled, but I was also nervous because I knew how much it meant to him.”

Julianne Moore in Lisey's Story. (Photo: Apple TV+)
Julianne Moore in Lisey's Story. (Photo: Apple TV+)

It helped that King told Abrams (whom he had previously collaborated with on Hulu’s 11.22.63) that he would adapt his own book for the screen — a rarity for an author who's seen dozens of his works given the Hollywood treatment.

In a 2017 interview with Yahoo Entertainment, King told us that he had been "holding onto" Lisey's Story to make sure any adaptation was done right. "I’d like to see Lisey’s Story done as a TV miniseries or a limited series," he said at the time. "I’ve always loved that book, and I really thought that I got most of that one. And it’s kind of overlooked."

“He’s been a partner throughout this entire process,” now says the Oscar-winning actress Moore, who stars as Lisey, a woman fending off a stalker fan of her husband (Clive Owen) while exploring the notion that a mythological alternate universe that he teased while he was alive may actually exist.

“The very first person I spoke to after I said I wanted to do this was Stephen. I can remember walking around my living room talking to him on the phone thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’am actually speaking to Stephen King, this is crazy!’ And he was there the entire time. He was there on the set, he was there the very first day. He’s been nothing but collaborative and encouraging and appreciative and in touch with all of us. … He’s a part of everything that we’ve done.”

Lisey’s Story is now streaming on Apple TV+. Watch the trailer:

-Video produced by Jen Kucsak and edited by Jimmie Rhee

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