Veteran Stephen King Stars Come Together In First Look At Netflix's Mr. Harrigan's Phone

Donald Sutherland as Mr. Harrigan in Mr. Harrigan's Phone
(Image credit: Netflix)

It was just yesterday that Netflix finally announced the release date for John Lee Hancock's Mr. Harrigan's Phone, based on the Stephen King novella of the same name – and with that date now just a little over two months away, it's not terribly surprising that the marketing push has begun. Debut stills from the new movie have been released  by Netflix, and they deliver our first look at key characters played by Jaeden Martell, Donald Sutherland, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste.

Fans will note that both Jaeden Martell and Donald Sutherland are veteran actors when it comes to starring in Stephen King adaptations. The former notably played Losers Club leader Bill Denbrough in IT and IT: Chapter Two, while the latter portrayed the villainous Richard Straker in the 2004 Salem's Lot miniseries. Now they've come together in Mr. Harrigan's Phone as Craig and Mr. Harrigan, respectively, and you can see a preview of their characters' relationship in the still below:

Jaeden Martell and Donald Sutherland in Mr. Harrigan's Phone

(Image credit: Netflix)

Craig is a teenager who lives with his father in the small town of Harlow, Maine, and he gets a part-time job working as an assistant for Mr. Harrigan, who is a wealthy recluse. The two of them strike up an unlikely friendship, and when Craig wins a nice chunk of money from a lottery scratcher that Mr. Harrigan gives him, he uses some of it to purchase his employer a brand new iPhone (which is presumably what we're seeing depicted in the image above). 

Mr. Harrigan becomes fascinated by the device and it's remarkable potential, but it's not too long after that he passes away. Knowing what the phone meant to his deceased friend, Craig buries it with Mr. Harrigan – which is what we're seeing in this image:

Jaeden Martell with Donald Sutherland in Mr. Harrigan's Phone

(Image credit: Netflix)

After the funeral, Craig ends up turning to the communication device in his grief and during times of strife – but he ends up learning that his dead friend had a darker past than he ever realized, and horrible things start to happen when the protagonist texts Mr. Harrigan for help.

Mr. Harrigan's Phone is a supernatural horror story, but it's also a coming-of-age drama. The friendship formed between Craig and Mr. Harrigan is huge in that respect, but another key figure in his development through his formative years is his teacher, Ms. Hart, played by the terrific Kirby Howell-Baptiste:

Kirby Howell-Baptiste in Mr. Harrigan's Phone

(Image credit: Netflix)

Based on what these Mr. Harrigan's Phone first look images show us, it definitely seems that director John Lee Hancock is developing a faithful adaptation of Stephen King's novella – featured in the 2020 collection If It Bleeds – but he is already warning fans that the movie is going to feature some deviations from the source material.

Speaking with Tadum, John Lee Hancock that certain changes were necessary given that "Mr. Harrigan's Phone" is not a particularly long novella. Said the filmmaker,

Because it’s a novella and it’s only 80-something pages, [you have] to jump in and grab onto thematically what I think he’s trying to say and activate some of it into scenes that aren’t necessarily all in the novella

Stephen King has already given the film a big thumbs up, as he Tweeted earlier this month that he has seen an early cut of Mr. Harrigan's Phone, and he called it "nothing short of brilliant." Hopefully the arrival of these images means that the first trailer is on the way soon.

Mr. Harrigan's Phone will be launching on Netflix October 5, and you can learn about all upcoming live-action King projects with our Upcoming Stephen King Movies and TV guide. For a full dive into the history of King adaptations, check out my weekly Adapting Stephen King column, which posts here on CinemaBlend every Wednesday.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.