Stephen King's Salem's Lot Movie Is Gender Swapping A Key Character

After being announced as being in development in spring 2020, Gary Dauberman's upcoming remake of Salem's Lot is now starting to come together rapidly. In just the past week the new movie has brought aboard actors to play a number of key roles – including protagonist Ben Mears – and the ensemble is shaping up incredibly well. Now the latest casting news has arrived, and it's particularly interesting both because it's a talented performer who has signed on, and because it's a case of a notable part being gender-swapped.

Alfre Woodard, according to Deadline, has come aboard the new Stephen King adaptation and will be playing the role of Dr. Cody. In the book, Cody is a rational and practical individual, but he winds up being unable to ignore all the evidence presented to him suggesting that the town of Jerusalem's Lot, Maine has been overrun by vampires. He becomes a key part of the team fighting back against the invasion – and because there's nothing about the character that is specifically gendered, it's hard to imagine that much about Cody will change for the film.

Despite the fact that this will be the third time that Salem's Lot has been brought into the live-action realm, it will only be the second time that Dr. Cody is featured as a primary character. In the 1979 miniseries version directed by Toby Hooper, the role was combined with another to create the amalgamation character Dr. Bill Norton, played by Ed Flanders. When a new television version was produced in 2004, the part was restored in the story and played by Robert Mammone.

Alfre Woodard joins an ensemble that includes Lewis Pullman as aforementioned protagonist Ben Mears; Makenzie Leigh as female lead Susan Norton; The Outsider's Bill Camp as Matthew Burke; and Spencer Treat Clark as Mike Ryerson. The primary villains of Salem's Lot – Richard Straker and Kurt Barlow – have not been cast yet, but it's only a matter of time before that news breaks.

Alfre Woodard in Annabelle with doll

This will be the first time that Alfre Woodard has been featured in a Stephen King adaptation, but the second time that she has collaborated with Gary Dauberman. She previously playd Evelyn in the 2014 Conjuring Universe film Annabelle, which was based on a script that Dauberman wrote.

Salem's Lot will be the second film directed by Gary Dauberman, who made 2019's excellent Annabelle Comes Home, and with casting news coming in as quickly as it is, it seems likely that production on the movie will begin soon. To learn about all of the upcoming Stephen King adaptations in the works, be sure to check out our Upcoming Stephen King Movies And Television guide – and check out my Adapting Stephen King column about the 1979 two-part TV movie to learn all about the origins of the story.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

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