There’s something in the walls of the large old house. Rodents, most likely. Or maybe it’s just the new occupant’s imagination. The source of the scraping and whispering actually turns out to be something neither the characters nor the audience expects—and the same may be true of this new series itself.
Chapelwaite draws its inspiration from Stephen King’s short story “Jerusalem’s Lot,” a name that may sound familiar even to those who aren’t among the author’s Constant Readers. ’Salem’s Lot is his best-selling 1975 novel about vampires infiltrating a contemporary American small town, which happens to be the same town mentioned in the short story. But the two tales have little else in common except that patch of isolated New England real estate. The tone, the plot, and even the time period are vastly different.
The thing plaguing Adrien Brody’s seafaring Captain Charles Boone in the new Epix series, set to debut later this summer, might hint at why bloodsuckers generations later might be drawn to a region with such grim history. The threat in Chapelwaite, like the short story, is the stuff of campfire tales or pastoral legends. Or maybe it really is the lead character’s own grief-stricken mind. “We play with that intentionally to keep our audience guessing,” said Peter Filardi (The Craft and 1990’s Flatliners), who cocreated the series with his brother, Jason Filardi (Bringing Down the House). “Is it a haunted-house movie? You learn in the pilot that Charles was also suffering from what appears to be some psychological issues, a madness that all of his other relatives suffer from. What is the danger? Well, it keeps sort of evolving.”
The premise of the show sticks closely to King’s: Boone inherits an old estate from his last surviving relative and decides to start a new life in the ancestral family mansion, a rundown structure known to the locals as Chapelwaite. The sounds within the walls lead him to uncover other Boone family secrets that trace back to the Puritan age, a time of witchcraft, superstition, ancient curses, and original sins—and a vanished community with the biblical moniker of Jerusalem’s Lot.
King’s story, first published in his 1978 anthology Night Shift, was the author’s way of filtering Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry James through the lurid lens of Weird Tales magazine. As these first-look images and first teaser clip reveal, the vibe of Chapelwaite is American gothic with an emphasis on the “gothic.”
Expanding King’s short fiction into a 10-episode series meant adding several more characters and story lines, which is why the Filardi brothers gave a family of three children to the widowed Boone, along with a new confidante: a free-thinking woman named Rebecca Morgan, played by Emily Hampshire (best known as the hotel manager Stevie from Schitt’s Creek.)
Read more of the Vanity Fair article HERE.