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Julianne Moore: Stephen King's screenplay blew me away

Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore stars opposite Clive Owen in Lisey's Story. (Image credit: AppleTV+)

Julianne Moore stars as the widow of a successful writer in Lisey's Story and the Oscar-winner says the role is one of the most challenging she's taken. 

Based on Stephen King's bestselling novel and adapted into a sinister eight-part series by the iconic author it's a tale that blends psychological horror with romance and elements of the supernatural. 

The tale — which will get its global premiere on Apple TV+ on Friday 4 June, 2021 — begins with Lisey Landon still mourning the death of her novelist husband Scott Landon (Clive Owen). 

Yet as she clears out his office, Lisey is approached by one of his former colleagues, Professor Dashmiel (Ron Cephas Jones), who arrives at her home asking for Scott’s valuable unpublished manuscripts. 

It’s a request that opens the door to her past and Lisey is forced to remember aspects of her marriage she’d deliberately blocked out of her mind, before she eventually discovers her late-husband's dream-like world of Boo'ya Moon. Julianne Moore tells us more about starring in Stephen King's most treasured tale... 

Julianne Moore on playing Lisey

"I hadn't read the book before, but I read Stephen King's screenplays and they blew me away," she explains. "I spoke to Stephen afterwards and we talked for hours about what I thought was special about the show, which was that it was an examination of a long term relationship. So many romantic stories are about courtship and getting married and a happy ever after, but in a real relationship that's just the beginning. 

"In a long relationship you bear witness to each other's lives, you kind of create a world together, you create a life together. That's what intrigued me, as because it's Stephen King, their secret world is actually something that's manifested in a wonderful and supernatural way, which ends up being a metaphor for our feelings. So then I went straight back and read the book!"

Lisey's Story...Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore slowly finds her way into the world of Boo'ya Moon. (Image credit: AppleTV+)

Julianne on Lisey's relationship with Scott

"Her journey to Boo'ya Moon begins when she tries to help her sister Amanda, who's in crisis," says Julianne. "In the process of helping her, she realises that her husband Scott (Clive Owen) had a close connection with Amanda and in aiding her, he's making her remember their relationship, in an effort to pull her through her grief and be able to get her. She even says; 'He's trying to teach me how to live to live alone.'"

Julianne on working with Stephen King

"Stephen is a master of story structure and a master of narrative," she explains. "There are so many strands to this story and I felt lucky that I had him to help me navigate my way through it, you know, because I was trying to kind of be inside the story. But he's a mastermind and it was an amazing experience being at the centre of one of his stories.

"There was one time on the set when we were working on a scene and we had to cut whole chunk of it out and it wasn't tracking correctly. He was like; 'Hang on, let me fix this!' And he just like went away and kind of rewrote something very quickly and made it all come together, which was amazing to experience."

Julianne on the inspiration behind Lisey's Story

"Stephen was inspired to write the story after a near-death experience he suffered in 1999 and one of the things that was important for him to communicate was how close he was to his wife," she explains. 

"He'd be the first person to say this not an autobiography, this is not about him and it's not about his wife Tabitha or his marriage. But the intense connection he has to her was something he was able to communicate to me and it was really important to us while making the show."

Julianne Moore

Stephen King wrote all eight episodes of Lisey's Story.  (Image credit: Alamy)

Julianne on Lisey's stalker Jim Dooley

"I think Stephen was inspired to create the character because so many people feel so personally connected to his work and some of them have been a little dangerous sometimes," she says. "I’ve only had good experiences with fans fortunately, with people who feel personally touched by things that I've done, which is great. It's always exciting when you've done something that you've connected deeply with and connects deeply with somebody else and then I feel like I've done my job."