Hulu’s ‘Castle Rock’ to film in Mass., first scripted TV series to be based here in almost 30 years

J.J. Abrams (pictured in Tokyo in 2016) is reportedly behind “Castle Rock,” a Hulu television series that will film in Massachusetts.
Ken Ishii/Getty Images
J.J. Abrams (pictured in Tokyo in 2016) is reportedly behind “Castle Rock,” a Hulu television series that will film in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts is finally getting a television series.

Sure, Boston has long been featured on TV shows, including “Cheers,” “Boston Public,” “Ally McBeal,” and “Fringe,” but production was based elsewhere, in cities such as Los Angeles and Vancouver. Massachusetts has an ample (and often debated) film production tax incentive that’s brought a bunch of movies to the area, from crime thrillers like “The Departed” and “The Town” to comedies like “The Heat” and “Ghostbusters.” But television production has been out of reach.

Now, sources tell the Globe that Hulu will film a series called “Castle Rock,” based on the stories of Stephen King, in Massachusetts at New England Studios in Devens and in Orange, a small town about an hour from Springfield.


In February, said “Castle Rock” would be based on the fictional Maine town mentioned in a bunch of King’s tales, including “Needful Things,” “Cujo,” and “Doctor Sleep.” Deadline said the series has a 10-episode order, and that J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot Productions are behind the project.

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The Massachusetts Film Office could not be reached for comment about the project, but sources who are working on the show say production starts this summer.

In 2012, when Massachusetts hired Lisa Strout as its film commissioner, Strout said her goal was to bring a TV show to the area for a more consistent source of jobs for locals in the entertainment industry.

“We want to make a special effort to get television here,’’ Strout said at the time. “We talked about the different kinds of story lines that fit in Massachusetts.”

At the time, Strout guessed that the state hadn’t had a regular scripted television project since “Spenser: For Hire,” which ran from 1985 to 1988. But Chris O’Donnell, business manager for the film crew union, said he worked as a boom operator on a local show that aired for a season in 1990. The program, about a law firm, was called “Against the Law.” It ran on Fox and starred Michael O’Keefe, who went on to have roles in “Masters of Sex,” “Homeland,” and “Sneaky Pete.”


Since Strout started in her post, a number of shows have nearly landed in Massachusetts.

The ABC Family program “Chasing Life,” about a young reporter with cancer, filmed its pilot around Boston (some scenes were shot at the Globe) in 2012, but the production moved to Los Angeles after the series was picked up. The drama returned on occasion for exterior shots until it was canceled in 2015.

A Charlize Theron-produced “Hatfields & McCoys” spinoff that would have starred Rebecca De Mornay and Virginia Madsen was filmed in town in 2013, but NBC passed on the offering. ABC also passed on the locally-filmed pilot for “Broad Squad,” which would have starred Lauren Ambrose, of “Six Feet Under,” and Rutina Wesley, who’s now on OWN’s “Queen Sugar.”

Shonda Rhimes, whose Shakespeare-inspired “Still Star-Crossed” premiered on ABC last week, tried to make a period drama in Boston in 2012. That show, “Gilded Lilys,” about a luxury hotel in 1895, never made it past a pilot.