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Last fall, Hulu announced that they were teaming up with super producer J.J. Abrams and horror master Stephen King to create a limited series adaptation of the latter author’s 2011 time-traveling novel 11/22/63. Abrams’ Bad Robot studio developed the project in conjunction with Warner Bros. TV, who will handle international distribution of the series. As of this week, Hulu’s 11/22/63 has also officially found its lead actor, although it will likely strike some King fans as an odd choice.

11-22-63 cover

Iconoclastic actor and filmmaker James Franco – perhaps best known for his comedic work in films like This is the End and The Interview – has signed on to portray 11/22/63’s main character Jake Epping, a man who travels back in time with the primary goal of preventing the world-changing assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Of course, this being a King story, serious complications quickly arise, and threaten to prevent Jake from completing his mission. Among the forces fighting against Jake is time itself, which has no desire to have its natural progression interfered with.

While Franco may at first seem like an unconventional choice, one shouldn’t forget about his Oscar-nominated dramatic work in the harrowing film 127 Hours, or his acclaimed turn in the biopic Milk. Franco also admirably carried the primary dramatic weight of the beloved reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes. In short, James Franco is capable of much more than his recent run of broad comedies might suggest. Here’s hoping he ends up being the right choice to lead Stephen King’s latest foray into television.