The road of Joe Hill's horror novel NOS4A2 making it to the small screen was long and uncertain for quite a while, after news broke in 2015 that an adaptation was in the works. Now, more than three years after that news first broke, NOS4A2 is set to premiere on AMC.
Not all adaptations are satisfactory to authors, with Stephen King's distaste for Stanley Kubrick's The Shining as a famous example. Fortunately, this is not the case with NOS4A2 and Joe Hill. The author recently spoke with CinemaBlend about his book coming to the screen, and he shared everything he loves about the upcoming series. Let's start with his feelings about the portrayal of the villain:
It's pretty wild, isn't it? I mean, it's sort of hard to say, 'Well, this one thing is...' You know, there's so much about it I love. I love Zachary Quinto's performances as Charlie Manx. I think he's really scary. I also think he's very witty. Those scenes are really electrifying.
Zachary Quinto of Star Trek and Heroes fame tackles the role of the dastardly Charlie Manx for NOS4A2 (pronounced "Nosferatu"). The show hasn't yet premiered, so potential fans can't evaluate Quinto's performance off of any more than the trailer, but Joe Hill's comments are definitely promising.
On NOS4A2, Charlie Manx apparently won't be a one-note villain who simply goes after children. He'll deliver wit on top of the scares, and it sounds like Zachary Quinto may have been the perfect pick to play Manx.
Of course, as any NOS4A2 book fan knows, Charlie Manx is only one half of the pair of characters that drives the action. The other is Vic McQueen, played by Ashleigh Cummings. Joe Hill shared his thoughts on Cummings as well:
I think Ashleigh Cummings is a huge star. I just love her to pieces. She does such a great Vic. She's great throughout, she has chemistry with everyone she appears on screen with, and then I think, especially in the final three episodes, she does work that's completely heartbreaking that I just loved. So that's all great.
Vic is a troubled character with a quite unique set of powers in NOS4A2, and Joe Hill's words indicate that Ashleigh Cummings is perfectly capable of delivering the nuances of Vic. The promise of chemistry is certainly a good thing, as even a stellar performance can flop if the actor isn't generating any sparks with any other actor.
The first season will consist of 10 episodes, so there will be a wait before viewers can find out what precisely Joe Hill means about her heartbreaking work in the final three episodes.
Joe Hill isn't quite as hands on with AMC's adaptation of NOS4A2 as Neil Gaiman was for Good Omens, for example, but he was a collaborator and quite confident in who was tasked with producing the book for live action television. Hill shared his thoughts:
I was fortunate to be collaborating with Jami O'Brien, who was the lead writer and showrunner for it. I read her first pilot script for NOS4A2 in 2017 and I just thought it was absolute gold, you know? I mean I was really blown away by it, and very envious in a way. She just has such a deft touch with character. In a single paragraph, in a single line, she can reveal so much about who these people are. So right from the start, I felt I was in good hands.
Jami O'Brien is already a veteran of hit AMC shows, thanks to her work as an executive producer on both Hell on Wheels and Fear the Walking Dead. She also wrote a couple episodes of the zombie apocalypse drama, so she knows her way around a genre TV series on AMC. And she has been connected to NOS4A2 for several years already.
If the author of the source material endorses the writer who penned an adaptation script, that should count as proof that book fans can enjoy the TV show. If Joe Hill can do it, surely his fans can do it, right?
While Joe Hill is clearly quite excited about an awful lot, he was ultimately able to pick one thing he's the most excited about. Here was his pick:
I'm pretty excited, but if I had to pick one thing I'm excited about [the most], I'm excited about Christmasland. When I wrote NOS4A2 – it came out in 2013 – I had so much fun working on the novel and so much fun with Charlie and Christmasland that I immediately followed up with a graphic novel called Wraith. And that's about, you remember that Nic Cage film, Con Air? Wraith is basically Con Air set in Christmasland. Christmasland is this twisted amusement park of Charlie Manx's. And these three prisoners wind up there, desperately trying to fight their way out. Big spoiler: we don't get that in Season 1. But we all have to watch NOS4A2. It has to be a big hit so we can get that in Season 2.
Christmasland isn't going to be quite as jolly as it sounds for the kids who wind up there after falling into Charlie Manx's hands! It's also one of the most unique elements of Joe Hill's novel, so if he's speaking highly of how the show handles it, I think book fans can be confident that they'll get something truly special out of the TV show.
And hey, maybe if NOS4A2 gains enough of an audience in Season 1, it will get that Season 2 to delve into the Wraith storyline. Recent seasons of The Walking Dead haven't delivered the kind of numbers for AMC that it once did, so the network would undoubtedly love another horror series that scores a big audience.
Only time will tell if NOS4A2 has what it takes to be AMC's next big hit. A second season of The Terror is on the way, not to mention the next season of Fear the Walking Dead. NOS4A2 isn't the network's only shot at cornering the horror market, but it definitely has a chance.