‘Castle Rock’ Is a Stephen King Story That Isn’t Really a Stephen King Story

ENTERTAINMENT

DEVENS, Mass. — Deep inside Shawshank prison, a man sits in a cage in the dark. Another man enters and turns on a lamp. They talk wearily of vague obligations and cryptic connections, the air thick with tension. Then the light goes out …

… And that’s about all I can say, because more would be a spoiler, and to be honest, I’m not sure what exactly was happening. But if the details sound like something out of a Stephen King story — an intriguing encounter drenched in mystery and menace, unfolding in one of the author’s best-known settings — that’s because they are. Except they’re not.

Confused? Welcome to “Castle Rock,” where even the people making the show don’t always know what’s going on. “The crew gets the scripts at the same time we do, and they’re like ‘What does this all mean?’ ” said Bill Skarsgard, one of the show’s stars.

Here’s what we do know: “Castle Rock,” which debuts Wednesday on Hulu, is a 10-episode series executive produced by J.J. Abrams and based on “characters and locations” from Stephen King. It tells an original story about a death row attorney, played by André Holland (“Moonlight”), who is drawn back to his hometown when a young man, played by Mr. Skarsgard, is discovered in that cage inside Shawshank. (Not so fast: The scene I saw comes later in the season.)