Stephen King fans have had a lot to celebrate in 2021, as it has been a rather big year for the author. Not only did he release two new books (Later and Billy Summers), but three different adaptation miniseries have aired on various platforms (The Stand, Lisey’s Story, and Chapelwaite), and multiple movies have gone into production (Firestarter, the Pet Sematary prequel and Salem’s Lot). But that’s not all that’s happening, however, as yet another project is making huge strides forward: director John Lee Hancock’s Mr. Harrigan’s Phone.
The upcoming Netflix movie is based on the novella of the same name featured in Stephen King’s 2020 collection If It Bleeds, and while the project was only just announced as being in the works a little over a year ago, it has rocketed into pre-production. In recent weeks there have been multiple reports about the movie building out its cast with a number of talented actors, and we have put together this feature to keep track of all the latest additions and information about who they are playing. As Mr. Harrigan’s Phone continues through development and adds more stars to its roster, we will continue to update this piece!
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone tells the story of a teenage boy named Craig who lives in the small town of Harlow, Maine and gets a part time job assisting his elderly neighbor – the titular Mr. Harrigan. The two form a friendship, and a tradition begins that sees Harrigan send Craig a lottery ticket four times a year: on Valentine’s Day, the kid’s birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. When one of the scratchers turns out to be a winner, the protagonist decides to do the nice thing and purchase his employer a brand new iPhone… which turns out to be a device that connects them even beyond the grave.
To play Craig, John Lee Hancock has enlisted an actor who already has some pretty notable Stephen King experience. Jaeden Martell, who did a phenomenal job playing young Bill Denbrough in IT and IT Chapter Two, has come aboard to star in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone as the lead. He won’t be dealing with anything like Pennywise in the movie, but there are definitely some horrors awaiting him.
When he’s first introduced in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, the eponymous character (first name John) is a friendly, elderly man who has trouble walking around and needs Craig to read to him because of his failing eyesight – but age does not wholly reduce him. In his prime, Harrigan was exceptionally adept and successful in business, allowing him to retire spectacularly wealthy. He is also an individual who notoriously has a dark and vengeful side to him, as anyone who crosses or betrays him quickly finds their lives in tatters… and that also extends to the people he cares about most.
Bringing this role to life in the Mr. Harrigan’s Phone movie will be the venerable Donald Sutherland – who, like his young co-star, also has some past experience in the world of Stephen King adaptations. In 2004 he starred as one of the principal antagonists in the miniseries remake of Salem’s Lot that aired on TNT. The film will be the first time Sutherland has made a Netflix exclusive film.
Mr. Harrigan most definitely becomes a paternal figure to Craig over the course of the adolescent’s tenure working for him, but holding even greater standing in the protagonist’s life is his actual father, who raises his son as a single parent following his wife’s passing. A responsible dad, he is initially a bit suspicious of his boy’s relationship with their neighbor, but he grows to appreciate the values that Harrigan imparts about responsibility and ensures that Craig is staying on the right path.
Joe Tippett has been brought aboard to play the role of Craig’s father in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone – the project being a rare feature for the actor, whose primary experience has been in the world of television. Some of his most recent work includes the HBO miniseries Mare Of Easttown (a show that got a big thumbs up from Stephen King), in which he plays John Ross, and the Apple TV+ series The Morning Show, which features him as recurring character Hal Jackson.
While his friendship with Mr. Harrigan marks one of the bright spots in his life, Craig also has some typical kid problems, and this includes a bully named Kenny Yanko who likes to pick on him at school. Fortunately, he has another adult ally in Ms. Hargensen, his earth science teacher. When Kenny makes Craig’s life hell, Ms. Hargensen tends to be around to try and help.
According to Deadline, Ms. Hargensen will be undergoing a name change in the adaptation of Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, as she will be referred to as Ms. Hart – but don’t expect much more about the character to change, and she will be played by the wonderful Kirby Howell-Baptiste. Like Joe Tippett, the British actor is best known for her work in television, namely shows like The Good Place, Barry, and Killing Eve, but she did just recently star in the Disney hit Cruella and the Paramount+ feature Queenpins.
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone does not yet have a release date, but if the project can move into production before the end of the year, it seems very likely that audiences can expect to see the film on Netflix some time in 2022 – at which time it will join Gerald’s Game, 1922, and In The Tall Grass in the catalogue of exclusive Stephen King adaptations on the streaming service. We will continue to update this feature as more actors continue to join the cast (there are some key roles that have not yet been filled), so keeping checking back as more official announcements are made.
And for the full rundown on all of the Stephen King adaptations that are currently in the works, both for the big screen and the small, be sure to check out our Upcoming Stephen King Movies and TV guide.
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.
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