HBO’s “The Outsider” in large part centers on Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), a Stephen King character that also has a major role in AT&T Audience Network’s “Mr. Mercedes” (where Justine Lupe portrays Gibney).
The different tones of the two shows could cause a bit of confusion for fans of the King novels who are coming to find their favorite character leap out of the paperbacks and onto the small screen. Not “The Outsider” showrunner Richard Price’s problem, he basically said Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour.
“I’ve never seen ‘Mr. Mercedes.’ I’ve never read ‘Mr. Mercedes,'” he said when asked about the overlapping universes. “I have to create this character, and I didn’t want it to be beholden to something that has nothing to do with ‘The Outsider’ — even though it’s a continuation of the character.”
“With King’s blessing, I just made the character mine — not the Holly even in the novel ‘The Outsider,'” Price added.
“Just forget everything you knew about Holly,” Price implored critics and reporters, and by extension, those fans we mentioned above. “That was that Holly, this is my Holly.”
“I asked King, could I at least change her name just to make more of a separation?” he continued. “And the only thing he ever said in terms of a directive to me was, ‘Just keep the name Holly Gibney.'”
Price’s response? “I said ‘fine.'”
What can you do? It’s Stephen friggin’ King.
Don’t get it twisted: It doesn’t sound like King and Price have a contentious relationship.
“He’s not an author, he’s an army,” Price regaled the godfather of horror. “It’s like a brand name — like Jell-O.”
“Stephen King, he transcends authors. He’s like an institution,” he continued. “And he does give you a great set up, he gives you a great story.”
“He’s like a boulder rolling downhill, and has been for decades,” Price summed up Hollywood’s love affair with the prolific author.
“The Outsider,” which stars Jason Bateman, premiered Sunday on HBO.
All 44 Stephen King Movies, Ranked Worst to Best (Photos)
Where does “Doctor Sleep” place among the many big-screen adaptations of the horror master’s work?
Stephen King isn't just an author by this point: He's an institution, a legacy of classic horror stories that capture our imaginations, fuel our nightmares, and speak -- when he's at his best -- to our shared experiences as flawed, emotional beings. The best King stories scare so many of us that we all feel connected, and even the worst are usually pretty fun.
King's books and short stories quickly became hit movies, many of them celebrated in their time, and some flopped so hard that hardly anybody remembers them. Cataloguing every adaptation might be a fool's errand, so we made some tough choices and decided to focus only on his theatrical releases.
And even then, there are so many King adaptations that it gets tricky. The sequels to King's work rarely have anything to do with the source material, so they're all disqualified (even though some, like Larry Cohen's prescient anti-fascist monster drama "A Return to Salem's Lot," are genuinely interesting). We also cut King some slack and removed "The Lawnmower Man" from our watch list, since he fought to have his own name removed from the film and won.
(There are also some adaptations that are simply difficult to find in America, like the Indian adaptions of "Misery" and "Quitter's, Inc." -- "Julie Ganapathi" and "No Smoking" -- but we tried. We promise we tried.)
Even with all those caveats we felt one particular film deserved a quasi-official, honorable mention. Before we rank into every theatrically-released Stephen King adaptation let's give out one honorable mention...