How Stephen King Feels About HBO's The Outsider Miniseries Based On His Novel

The Outsider Ben Mendelsohn as police detective Ralph Anderson HBO

HBO's The Outsider miniseries just had a two-episode premiere last night, adapting Stephen King's horror novel. King has been sharing his take on the miniseries for several months now, including fresh reaction after the two-hour January 12 debut.

The Outsider stars the great Ben Mendelsohn and both of last night's episodes were directed by his co-star Jason Bateman. The Outsider is the latest Stephen King book to be adapted and, in this case, it was a pretty quick turnaround. King published The Outsider in May 2018. Now it's January 2020 and we already have a 10-episode miniseries ready to keep airing until early March.

So, what does Stephen King think of The Outsider on HBO? He's usually pretty positive about adaptations, although sometimes he'll go off like he did for The Shining. Other times he'll refrain from saying too much but you can read between the lines.

In this case, he's already gone on the record as saying The Outsider is "one of the best adaptations of my work."

After Sunday's premiere, Stephen King retweeted praise from filmmaker Joe Lynch for the show, star Ben Mendelsohn, and director Jason Bateman:

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Stephen King steadily promoted The Outsider before its release, tweeting last week that "It's riveting television" and "It's excellent."

He's obviously a big fan, perhaps because The Outsider has yet to take as many liberties with his novel as, say, Pet Sematary or even the new Doctor Sleep movie -- although he also seemed to be a fan of that adaptation too and even said it redeemed his dislike of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.

That's not to say The Outsider series hasn't changed some details from the book, but they have been relatively minor so far. And it looks like Stephen King was happy enough with this production that he let HBO film him as part of this behind-the-scenes look at The Outsider:

The Outsider stars Ben Mendelsohn (Captain Marvel, Bloodline, Ready Player One) as police detective Ralph Anderson, who investigates the mutilated body of 11-year-old boy Frankie Peterson, who is found in the Georgia woods. Jason Bateman -- fresh off an Emmy for directing Netflix's Ozark -- plays local baseball coach Terry Maitland, who is initially arrested for the murder based on solid evidence, but conflicting evidence appears to show him in two places at once. The mysterious circumstances surrounding the crime lead Ralph, still grieving the recent death of his own son, to bring in unorthodox private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), whose uncanny abilities he hopes will help explain the unexplainable.

The character of Holly Gibney was also featured in Stephen King's Bill Hodges trilogy -- Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch.

The Outsider also stars Bill Camp, Mare Winningham, Paddy Considine, Julianne Nicholson, Yul Vázquez, Jeremy Bobb, and Marc Menchaca. Episodes continue with "Dark Uncle" on Sunday, January 19 at 9 p.m. The HBO limited series will continue until the Episode 10 finale, "Must/Can't" (that should look familiar to book readers), which airs March 8.

Keep up with everything premiering in early 2020 with our handy TV schedule.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.