‘Castle Rock’: Paul Sparks to Replace Garrett Hedlund as ‘Ace’ Merrill in Season 2

Second season of Stephen King-inspired anthology stars Lizzy Caplan as Annie Wilkes

Paul Sparks Garrett Hedlund
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Hulu has recast the role of “Ace” Merrill in the upcoming second season of “Castle Rock.” Paul Sparks will now play the character instead of Garrett Hedlund, a spokesperson for Hulu confirmed.

John “Ace” Merrill is the legendary King bully played by Kiefer Sutherland in “Stand By Me.”

“Castle Rock” is the re-imagining of the entire King canon into one universe and touches on some of his most iconic stories and characters. The fictional Maine town sits at the center of the King universe, appearing in numerous books including “Cujo,” “The Dead Zone,” and “The Body” (the novella that “Stand By Me” was based on).

In Season 2, a feud between warring clans comes to a boil when Annie Wilkes, King’s nurse from hell, gets waylaid in Castle Rock. Wilkes was played by Kathy Bates in the 1990 film “Misery” which featured Bates as a former nurse and crazed fan of James Caan’s novelist, Paul Sheldon.

Lizzy Caplan stars as a younger version of Wilkes. Stephen King alum Tim Robbins (“The Shawshank Redemption”) will also star with Elsie Fisher, Yusra Warsama, Barkhad Abdi and Matthew Alan.

Robbins will play another King character in Reginald “Pop” Merrill, from “The Sun Dog,” King’s 1990 novella. The Patriarch of Stephen King’s iconic crime family, Pop is dying of cancer and at a reckoning with his family. Sparks’ Ace is taking over his uncle’s businesses and threatening a fragile peace with nearby Jerusalem’s Lot.

Deadline first reported the news of the recasting.