Netflix Shares A First Look At Stephen King’s Mr. Harrigan’s Phone

For director and writer John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), adapting Stephen King’s novella, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone from If It Bleeds was a unique challenge. “Because it’s a novella and it’s only 80-something pages, you have to jump in and grab onto thematically what I think he’s trying to say and activate some of it into scenes that aren’t necessarily all in the novella,” Hancock shared. 

Of course, it wasn’t all excitement and expansion. There was a healthy dose of anxiety involved in working with one of the most famous authors in the world. “You finish a script and you realize you’ve got to send it to Stephen, and you’re going to get a thumbs up or a thumbs down,” Hancock recalls. “You go, ‘Oh my God, Stephen King’s reading my script. I hope he likes it.’”

And once the film entered production, the crew ran into a few other challenges: namely, the hazards of making a mid-2000s period piece. In order to get ahold of enough period-appropriate technology, Hancock turned to his assistant, Jack Kramer. “He was a real tech whiz growing up. And he was one of those guys that would jailbreak phones and sell them on eBay,” Hancock says. “And he actually is from Connecticut where we shot. He had it all at his house there, which was only like 45 minutes away. And so prop said, ‘Do you have any?’ And he goes, ‘I got boxes of it.’”

But Hancock is adamant that the film is about more than just those old iPhones. “More than anything, it’s about an odd relationship between a billionaire in his 80s and a [young man] and the bonds of friendship, and how far will you go for a friend?” he says. It’s also not the horror story you might expect. “Do you like Shawshank Redemption, do you like Stand By Me, do you like Green Mile, do you like a ton of other Stephen King?” Hancock asks (rhetorically, of course). “My take on it was, it’s in the fashion of Brothers Grimm. It’s a cautionary fairy tale in a way.” So don’t worry, fraidy-cats: Halloween this is not. (Non-fraidy-cats, also don’t worry; Hancock still promises some “good scares.”)

The film stars Donald Sutherland, Jaeden Martell, Joe Tippett, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Cyrus Arnold, Colin O’Brien, Thomas Francis Murphy, and Peggy J. Scott.

Here is the synopsis:

When Craig, a young boy living in a small town (Jaeden Martell) befriends Mr. Harrigan, an older, reclusive billionaire (Donald Sutherland), the two begin to form an unlikely bond over their love of books and reading. But when Mr. Harrigan sadly passes away, Craig discovers that not everything is dead and gone and strangely finds himself able to communicate with his friend from the grave through the iPhone in this supernatural coming-of-age story that shows that certain connections are never lost.

Produced by Ryan Murphy, Jason Blum and Carla Hacken, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone hits Netflix on October 5. This call is definitely coming from inside the house. 

Published by Larry Fire

I write an eclectic pop culture blog called THE FIRE WIRE that features articles about books, comics, music, movies, television, gadgets, posters, toys & more!

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