Stephen King's Boogeyman Adds Yellowjackets Actress Sophie Thatcher And Chris Messina

The first bit of casting news for the film adaptation of Stephen King's short story, "The Boogeyman," has dropped. A certain Yellowjacket, Sophie Thatcher, is flying in, and she's bringing Chris Messina with her. With this news also comes more details about the direction the movie will take with King's original story, first published in "Cavalier" magazine in 1973 before appearing in book form in his 1978 collection, "Night Shift."

Deadline reports that Thatcher and Messina will star in the upcoming Hulu adaptation. Thatcher has enjoyed breakthrough success of late in Showtime's "Yellowjackets," which just aired the finale of its first season two weeks back and reportedly has a five-season plan in place. On "Yellowjackets," she alternates with Juliette Lewis as the teen and adult version of Natalie, a member of a girl's soccer team stranded in the Canadian wilderness and seemingly driven to cannibalism. Thatcher also showed up in the "Star Wars" universe recently in "The Book of Boba Fett," where she was the face of the Mod-inspired biker gang in "The Streets of Mos Espa."

What makes this casting announcement interesting is that it appears to position Thatcher as the lead in "The Boogeyman," with the story now following "a teenage girl who's still reeling from the tragic death of [her] mother and finds herself and her brother plagued by a sadistic presence in their house and struggl[ing] to get their grieving father to pay attention before it's too late." That's a departure from the short story, but maybe it's for the better.

The Not-So-Likeable Lester

In an article last November, before any casting announcements were made, I noted that "the basic blueprint [for 'The Boogeyman'] involves a man named Lester Billings relating to a psychiatrist, Dr. Harper, how the boogeyman slunk out of the closet and killed his three children, one by one, over time." I also noted, "There's a streak of casual '70s sexism and racism running through Billings' therapy session, and he's not a very likable character."

It sounds like "The Boogeyman" will sand off some of those rough edges ... in a good way? Having a likable protagonist isn't a prerequisite, as any number of antiheroes in the Golden Age of TV have shown. However, in "The Boogeyman," which is an otherwise terrifying tale, we only have to spend the length of one short story with Lester. The movie will need to stretch the tale out to feature-length, and having a main character who's a little more bearable and less prone to toss out awful remarks seems like a good way to go. There's no teenage girl that I remember in King's story, but Thatcher has more than enough charisma to hold the screen and give "The Boogeyman" a modern update.

Messina is a recognizable character actor who has most recently appeared in several other women-centered shows and films like "Sharp Objects," "Birds of Prey," and "I Care a Lot." Presumably, he might be playing the "grieving father," some version of Lester?

As we previously reported, Rob Savage ("Host") is directing "The Boogeyman." Deadline indicates that Mark Heyman is penning the latest draft of the script based on earlier drafts by Akela Cooper ("Malignant") and Scott Beck & Bryan Woods ("A Quiet Place.") We'll keep you updated as more details about "The Boogeyman" start arriving.