Stephen King Calls HBO's The Outsider 'One Of The Best Adaptations' Of His Books

hbo the outsider jason bateman in jail

The past few years have been a cornucopia of riches for Stephen King fans, delivering everything from TV adaptations to film adaptations to new books and other new projects. The King of Horror's offbeat murder mystery The Outsider, in particular, was published in mid-2018, and it's now already an HBO drama set to hit primetime in early 2020. In case the recently released trailer wasn't enough to convince you how awesome the new show looks, maybe the words of Stephen King himself can do the trick.

After The Outsider's extended trailer went live, Stephen King took to social media to succinctly heap a huge amount of praise on the live-action version penned by gritty author and screenwriter Richard Price. In King's words:

THE OUTSIDER is one of the best adaptations of my work. Hope you'll watch it.

At very few points in his career has Stephen King ever minced words, with a number of his novels stretching beyond the 700-page mark. Even on Twitter, King has little trouble coughing up more than enough opinions about a variety of topics, with politics and genre-related things occupying a lot of his thoughts. He didn't get very wordy about The Outsider, though, but then that probably speaks to the power of his specific word choice there.

Because, goodness gracious, there have been roughly 112,263 adaptations of Stephen King's work at this point. (Not really, but that was a reference to his JFK-centered novel 11/22/63.) So it speaks volumes for the author to already be labeling The Outsider as one of the best in that sizable selection of adaptations. Not that the story, cast and creative team wouldn't have already implied greatness was on the way.

Jason Bateman continues down dark dramatic paths with The Outsider, as both a producer and a star. He plays Terry Maitland, a respected local man who becomes a town pariah after he's accused of raping and murdering a young boy. The Night Of's Emmy-nominated Bill Camp plays Terry's friend Howie Gold, whose lawyerly skills aren't worth much in helping Terry, thanks to the mound of evidence stacked against him.

The lead investigator going after Terry is detective Ralph Anderson, played by Bloodline and Captain Marvel's Ben Mendelsohn, who believes he has an open-and-shut case until he discovers conflicting evidence that points to other mysteriously ways the murder could have happened. Also joining the case is recurring Stephen King character Holly Gibney – who was a major part of the Mr. Mercedes-led trilogy – and she'll be played in The Outsider by the Tony-winning Cynthia Erivo, who recently garnered acclaim as the titular abolitionist in Harriet.

Beyond those listed above, The Outsider also stars American Horror Story regular Mare Winningham, Informer's Paddy Considine, Masters of Sex's Julianne Nicholson, Russian Doll's Yul Vasquez and Jeremy Bobb, Ozark's Marc Menchaca and more. While not all of the episodes' crew lists have been revealed, it's known that Jason Bateman himself directed the first two installments of the ten-episode miniseries.

That all sounds like the recipe for a killer Stephen King adaptation, and one that could definitely stand the test of time. Still, it's hard to deny just how great adaptations of his works have been in recent years. Both of the IT movies, while showing their book-to-movie differences, are great horror movies in their own right. Streaming adaptations such as Gerald's Game, 1922, and In the Tall Grass were all hauntingly solid in their own ways, and even though the box office for Doctor Sleep was disappointing, the film was still lauded by critics and viewers (and King himself).

Watch the new trailer below and let us know in the comments how you think it compares to other recent King adaptations.

Audiences everywhere will be able to tell for themselves just how great The Outsider is when the series hits HBO with a double-episode premiere on Sunday, January 12, at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.