Paul Sparks replaces Garret Hedlund on Castle Rock

Boardwalk Empire star will now be playing Stephen King's iconic bully Ace Merril

Paul Sparks, The Night Of, Stephen King, Castle Rock
Paul Sparks in The Night Of (HBO)

    There’s a new face in Castle Rock.

    According to Deadline, Paul Sparks (The Night Of, Boardwalk Empire) has climbed aboard the second season of Hulu’s Stephen King anthology series. He’ll be replacing Garret Hedlund, who was previously announced to be playing iconic bully Ace Merril.

    Sources for Deadline indicate that the recasting was a creative decision, and that scenes involving Hedlund will now have to be reshot with Sparks. What’s interesting to note is that Sparks is 47 years old and Hedlund is only 34.

    (Reading: Every Stephen King Adaptation from Worst to Best)

    That disparity in age could possibly be why the role was recast. In the forthcoming season, Ace will be taking over the business of his father, Pop Merril, who’s being played by Tim Robbins. So, perhaps showrunners Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason wanted a more world-weary Ace? In the past, he’s been played by Kiefer Sutherland in 1986’s Stand By Me.


    We’ll see as we inch closer back to the spooky Maine town. As previously reported, the new season will follow Misery villain Annie Wilkes (Lizzy Caplan), who stumbles into the titular town, where a warring feud is going down involving the legendary Merrill family and a fragile piece of land that happens to cut into another familiar town: Jerusalem’s Lot.

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    In addition to Robbins, Caplan, and Sparks, the cast includes Elsie Fischer as Wilkes’ home-schooled teenage daughter Joy, Yusra Warsama as Dr. Nadia Omar in nearby ‘Salem’s Lot, Barkhad Abdi as Omar’s brother Abdi, and Matthew Alan as Ace’s brother Chris.


    Currently, there’s no release date set, though with filming having begun, 2019 isn’t out of the cards. To keep tabs, subscribe to The Losers’ Club, our weekly Stephen King podcast that has been there with the series from the very beginning, all the way to the original 2017 announcement. In fact, last year, they covered each episode and even threw an accompanying film festival.