Lizzy Caplan will star in the next run of episodes as Annie Wilkes, the psychotic nurse famously played by Kathy Bates in the 1990 film directed by Rob Reiner.
Joining her will be Tim Robbins (returning to the King world years after the adaptation of The Shawshank Redemption), Eight Grade breakout Elsie Fisher, Garrett Hedlund (Triple Frontier), Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Yusra Warsama (Call the Midwife), and Matthew Alan (13 Reasons Why).
Robbins will play Reginald “Pop” Merrill, a character from King’s novella The Sun Dog from his 1990 Four Past Midnight collection. In Castle Rock, Pop is at a reckoning with his crime family as he’s dying from cancer. That family includes Hedlund as bully John “Ace” Merrill, who’s taking over his uncle Pop’s business and threatening the peace with Jerusalem’s Lot, and Alan as Chris Merrill, Ace’s brother who’s struggling to keep that peace.
Ace appeared in King’s Needful Things novel of 1991 and was portrayed in Stand By Me by Kiefer Sutherland.
As season 2 focuses on a feud between two warring clans, Warsama will play Dr. Nadia Omar, a Harvard-trained Somali medical director in Jerusalem’s Lot, and Abdi will play Abdi Omar, Nadia’s older brother who takes charge in building a Somali community center in Maine.
Then there’s Annie, a nurse and crazed super fan struggling to overcome her mental issues in Castle Rock. While she brings the Misery, Fisher will bring the Joy, as in the name of Annie’s homeschooled teenage daughter who begins to question her mother’s sanity.
As co-creator Sam Shaw told EW as season 1 wrapped up, “Part of what we always set out to do from the beginning is tell a new story each season, to see things we haven’t seen before from the point of view of characters we haven’t met before in any season.”
“That said,” he continued, “I think there’s something really terrific with the way Steve handles his anthology and his universe — you see Father Callahan in Salem’s Lot and then you bump up against him again in a huge way in The Dark Tower. The pleasure of finding your way back to stories or characters you’ve seen before in unexpected ways is a huge, exciting advantage of this series. I think it’s something that we can do, and allow it to be an anthology but still embrace stories and characters that we love. It just may not happen in the way that one might expect.”