Stephen King was born and brought up in Maine; but for winters in Florida, he still calls the state home. The remote, chilly state with its notoriously taciturn population has been the setting for many of his books, including “Carrie,” “Cujo,” “Pet Sematary,” “Needful Things” and 2009’s “Under the Dome.”
That last novel, “Under the Dome,” is the latest of King’s works to be adapted for the screen. It’s currently filming on location for a CBS television series coming up this summer -- but instead of shooting in Maine, the story has been moved more than 900 miles south, to Wilmington, N.C.
The Times’ Richard Verrier explains, “filming a television adaptation in King’s home state of Maine was out of the question. Aside from the inhospitable winter season, Maine does not provide the kind of competitive film tax credit that is increasingly vital to producing television dramas.” North Carolina’s tax credits lured the production company, which counts King and Steven Spielberg among its producers, and the series began filming there last week.
“Under the Dome” is the story of a small town that one fall day finds itself under a magical, impenetrable dome. “The most significant thing about the dome is that it prevents anyone from entering or leaving a small town that feels suddenly much smaller,” wrote Jedediah Berry in our review. “Forget that some kids’ parents are out of town, or that most of the fire department happens to be away. The big problems stem not from what’s stuck outside, but from what’s stuck inside.”
What happens is a battle between good and evil on a micro-scale with larger implications. There are good guys: kids with skateboards, an Iraq war veteran with difficult memories, and a newspaper reporter. The bad guys fall in line behind selectman Big Jim Rennie, a born-again Christian who replaces profanities with G-rated phrases such as “clustermug,” “cotton-picking” and “rhymes-with-witch.” If that seems easy to take, there is also real darkness: “King is interested in portraying the everyday outrages that result when reason is abandoned for fear and panic,” wrote Berry.
The television version of “Under the Dome,” with its North Carolina landscape, is set to debut on CBS on June 24.