‘Castle Rock’ – Jane Levy on Her Character, Stephen King, and the Horror Genre

Jane Levy was part of the cast of Hulu’s Castle Rock who took part in a panel at the 2018 San Diego Comic Con. Castle Rock is a new original horror series which takes place within the Stephen King multiverse. Jane Levy plays a character named Jackie Torrance in season one which premiered on July 25, 2018. The last name Torrance immediately struck a chord with Stephen King fans and during roundtables interview at Comic Con, Levy was asked if there’s a connection between her character and those in The Shining.

The Torrance connection was the first question asked of Levy during our roundtable interview. Playing it close to the vest, Levy replied, “Jackie, who I play, brushes up very closely with a famous King character.”

Jane Levy Castle Rock Interview:

Were you a big fan of Stephen King prior to Castle Rock?

Jane Levy: “I was not a big fan but not because I didn’t like it, but because I didn’t know enough about his work. I’ve learned so much about him from working on the show. I’ve become a huge fan, just such a fascinating person. Like, really no comparison. And so smart and interesting. I didn’t know how epic Stephen King was. I didn’t know that Shawshank Redemption was a Stephen King book. I didn’t know that The Shining was a Stephen King book.

I learned all these things from working on the show, and I’m honored to be a part of the universe.”

Is there anything you’re surprised to learn about yourself as you delve more into your character?

Jane Levy: “Sort of. So, my character is the town taxi driver. She’s the self-proclaimed historian of Castle Rock. She’s kind of like you – I’m assuming you guys are Stephen King fans. She’s a huge fan and she’s extremely proud of being from Castle Rock. She thinks the legends she’s grown up hearing are like the coolest shit ever. However, it’s never really happened in her lifetime. She’s like, ‘When is this going to happen to me, guys? Is this even real?’

And then in episode one Henry Deaver shows up and she catches wind that this young person was found in a cage in the bottom of Shawshank. She’s like, ‘Let’s go! This is what I’ve been f*cking waiting for my whole life.’

I’ve done horror films before and when I first started working on horror I was like, ‘I don’t really get it. I just got hired for this thing. It was a really fun experience.’ And when I was working on Jackie who’s like a huge fan of the macabre and anything dark, my dad reminded me – which I totally didn’t remember – truthfully, no irony, I wanted to be a coroner because I thought it would be cool to cut people open. And then I started to remember all the dark shit that goes on in my head. I was like, ‘Maybe I am an actual huge horror fan.’ Whenever a horror movie comes out, it is the only thing that will absolutely without fail get me to the movie theater.

So, yeah, through playing Jackie I realized I am interested in crossing the line and doing things I’m not allowed to. The horror genre allows for that. Playing Jackie brought out my inner horror fangirl.”

How much of her backstory do we get to see?

Jane Levy: “You see some. I don’t know what I’m allowed to say.”

Why did she choose to be a taxi driver and what will her relationships be with the other characters?

Jane Levy: “I do think she chose to become a taxi driver because she likes to be in other people’s business and eavesdrop. Her closest relationship is with Molly, Melanie Lynskey’s character, which is really fun for me because I adore Melanie and we’re friends IRL. I would say that’s her most important relationship but there comes a time where she and Henry show up at the same place at the same time. Without realizing it, they need each other and help one another.”

Why do you think Americans are so fascinated with the notion that picturesque small towns are really a façade for something foul and sinister?

Jane Levy: “I don’t think it’s just Americans because my favorite shows about small towns are like Broadchurch, Top of the Lake, Twin Peaks. I think that it’s my actual favorite genre. I just watched The Sinner – I’m a little late – but I was like, ‘This is so f**king good!’

I think it’s like when you’re in a small space and there’s generational history, there’s neighbors that know each other’s good stuff and bad stuff, that’s really juicy grounds for drama. I think the most dramatic things are actually the most simple. It’s also such a scary idea to think that the town itself might be the villain, at least with Castle Rock. That’s what I felt when I watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time when I was a kid. I was like, ‘That’s the scariest idea that a whole town is against you.’ This is a little different because it’s the town itself.”

Also of Interest:

Castle Rock star Jane Levy
Jane Levy stars as Jackie in ‘Castle Rock’ (Photo by Art Streiber/Hulu)