EXCLUSIVE: Hulu is recasting one of the leads opposite Lizzy Caplan in the second season of Castle Rock. Paul Sparks (Boardwalk Empire, House of Cards) has been tapped to play John “Ace” Merrill, Castle Rock’s legendary bully, in the psychological horror series from J.J. Abrams and Stephen King. Sparks replaces Garrett Hedlund, who was originally cast in the role.
I hear the recasting was a creative decision related to the character of Ace, who is taking over his uncle Pop’s (Tim Robbins) businesses and threatening a fragile peace with nearby Jerusalem’s Lot. It was made after Hedlund had filmed a handful of scenes. They will now be reshot.
In Season 2 of Castle Rock, a feud between warring clans comes to a boil when budding psychopath Annie Wilkes (Lizzy Caplan), Stephen King’s nurse from hell, gets waylaid in Castle Rock. Season 2 cast also include Yusra Warsama, Barkhad Abdi, Elsie Fisher and Matthew Alan.
Sam Shaw & Dustin Thomason developed the project for television and serve as executive producers along with J.J. Abrams, Ben Stephenson, Dustin Thomason, Vince Calandra, Sam Shaw, Stephen King and Liz Glotzer. Castle Rock hails from Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Sparks is known for his roles as Thomas Yates in House of Cards, which earned him an Emmy nomination, and Mickey Doyle in Boardwalk Empire. He recently wrapped production on Season 2 of Starz’s drama series Sweetbitter, which premieres this summer. His other credits include a starring role in Paramount Network’s limited series Waco and feature The Greatest Showman alongside Hugh Jackman. Sparks is repped by One Entertainment and Gersh.
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