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Stephen King's Salem's Lot Movie Has Added A Jessica Jones Actor For A Key Role

John Benjamin Hickey talking in Jessica Jones episode 3x01
(Image credit: Netflix)

In the last month or so, Gary Dauberman's upcoming big screen adaptation of Salem's Lot has been hard at work assembling the vampire hunting team at the heart of the Stephen King story. First we learned about who will be playing Ben Mears – namely Top Gun: Maverick's Lewis Pullman – and since then we've learned that the ensemble will also include Makenzie Leigh as Susan Norton, Bill Camp as Matthew Burke, and Alfre Woodard as Dr. Cody. We're still waiting to learn who will be playing teenage monster expert/horror enthusiast Mark Petrie, but today we have the news that an actor has been selected to play the role of Father Donald Callahan.

There was a brief time when we wondered if William Sadler would be playing Callahan in Salem's Lot, as the actor didn't identify his role when he revealed his involvement with the project earlier this month, but that period has come to an end. According to Deadline, that particular role has gone to recent Tony nominee John Benjamin Hickey, and it will be his first experience making a Stephen King adaptation. The actor's previous credits include feature projects like Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen and Clint Eastwood's Flags Of Our Fathers, but his recent Hollywood credits are mostly include small screen titles like the Marvel/Netflix series Jessica Jones and The Good Wife.

Fans have been particularly anticipating the casting of Father Callahan in the new film, as the character holds a special place in the Stephen King canon. He is not only at the heart of one of the most dramatic moments in Salem's Lot – one that challenges his faith in the presence of evil – but he is also a figure in the epic and beloved Dark Tower series.

While this adaptation of Salem's Lot is the first to be made for the big screen, the book has twice been adapted for television, and Father Callahan is included in both. In the 1979 version from director Tobe Hooper he is played by James Gallery, and in the 2004 remake miniseries the great James Cromwell has the part.

In addition to Lewis Pullman, Makenzie Leigh, Bill Camp, William Sadler, and Alfre Woodard, John Benjamin Hickey is joining a cast that also includes Spencer Treat Clark (as townie Mark Ryerson) and Pilou Asbæk (as the villainous Richard Straker).

Salem's Lot is now in production, and it is set to arrive in theaters less from a year from now on September 9, 2022. To learn about all of the Stephen King projects that are presently in the works, check out our Upcoming Stephen King Movies and TV guide, and if you're interested in the long history of adaptations check out my Adapting Stephen King column!

Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.