Here’s the One Thing Stephen King Put His Foot Down About for HBO’s ‘The Outsider’

TCA 2020: “He’s not an author, he’s an army,” showrunner Richard Price says of source material novelist

stephen king the outsider holly

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.