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How Chapelwaite’s Adrien Brody Used The Stephen King Short Story As Inspiration

Given that Stephen King’s “Jerusalem’s Lot” is a 35 page short story, it should surprise literally nobody that the upcoming 10-episode adaptation Chapelwaite makes quite a few changes from the source material. For starters, the protagonist, Captain Charles Boone (played by Adrien Brody), goes from being a bachelor in the text to a widower and father of three on the show, and all kinds of new storylines are invented that add details to his family’s relationship with his new neighbors in the town of Preacher’s Corners, Maine. The alterations ultimately allow the series to be more of its own thing – but all the same, the star of the show was still able to use the original King story as important inspiration for his performance.

I spoke with Adrien Brody about his performance in Chapelwaite during the recent virtual press day for the new Epix show, and specifically asked him how he utilized the original Stephen King text as a reference tool. He acknowledged that the adaptation definitely makes some big deviations from “Jerusalem’s Lot,” but it was still useful for him because of the haunting tone that the author creates and because of its depiction of his character’s descent into madness. Said Brody,

Well, I think obviously, yes there are quite a few new elements to “Jerusalem's Lot,” but I think just having... there's a tone that is very present within Stephen King's work that I do feel they captured in this. And it's just very useful to have it. It's kind of like you have your Bible to refer to, and even if the story meanders and changes and new characters come into play and family... I think there were some really wonderful additions as far as storytelling goes, but that madness and the sense of, as it unfolded, that kind of mystery and all that – that was so well captured.

“Jerusalem’s Lot,” featured as the very first story in the Stephen King collection Night Shift, is set in the 1850s and follows a man named Captain Charles Boone as he returns to the Boones’ ancestral home – an estate called Chapelwaite – and hopes to start a new life. At the start he is merely perturbed by what he perceives as rats scratching around inside the walls, but he winds up making a dark discovery that shines a light on terrible things in his family’s history, and this in turn leads him to find Lovecraftian horrors in a nearby abandoned town called Jerusalem’s Lot.

Stephen King wrote “Jerusalem’s Lot” as an epistolary short story that unfolds primarily via letters that Charles Boone writes to a friend – and while that created a certain level of challenge for the writers of Chapelwaite to adapt, the format was perfectly suited for Adrien Brody’s work. Reading the correspondence, the actor was able to not only able to get into the character’s mind, but also get a better grasp on the period setting, which is wonderfully illustrated by the author. Brody continued,

They're all from his writings, from Charles's writings. It's invaluable and it brings some kind of authenticity to it, because Stephen King is a contemporary writer, but this feels like he captured the writings of something from the 1800s. So as I referred to it, I always felt like I had letters to refer to from another era and really helped me.

Co-starring Emily Hampshire, Jennifer Ens, Sirena Gulamgaus, and Ian Ho, Chapelwaite will air its premiere this Sunday on Epix at 10pm PT/ET. And if you watch and immediately need more, you’ll be able to find the first three episodes on both the Epix Now app, and on VOD.

Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.