Castle Rock: Matthew Alan chats Season 2 and the Merrill family

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: Matthew Alan attends Hulu "Castle Rock" Season 2 Premiere at AMC Sunset 5 on October 14, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: Matthew Alan attends Hulu "Castle Rock" Season 2 Premiere at AMC Sunset 5 on October 14, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu) /

Matthew Alan will play a member of the infamous and criminal Merrill family in the second season of Castle Rock. He chatted with us about the role!

Castle Rock is the ultimate series for Stephen King fans. The show is the horror equivalent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with how it meshes the multiple worlds and characters of Stephen King’s many novels together into one brilliant television series.

The first season focused on Shawshank Prison and Henry Deaver’s story. Season 2 will introduce the Merrill family, who appear in countless King novels, often up to nefarious activities. Annie Wilkes, the star of Misery, will also appear as a character in Season 2, played by Lizzy Caplan.

We had the chance to chat with one of the new lead actors of the second season, Matthew Alan. Alan will play the role of Chris Merrill. You might recognize him from his work on the FX series Snowfall or the popular Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why.

1428 Elm: Did you want to start by telling us a little about the character you’ll be playing in Season 2?

Matthew Alan: Absolutely. This season I play Chris Merrill. He is a part of the infamous Merill family from the Stephen King-universe. Younger brother to Ace Merrill, Chris, is not originally from the novels. It’s kind of cool because I get to create a new character that is part of this world.

Throughout the season, you’ll see him in the chaos of Castle Rock. You’ll see him trying to keep the community and family together. He’s a pretty grounded guy, anchored by his family. He’s trying his hardest to keep everyone together, but I can’t tell you if that works out for him or not.

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1428 Elm: Usually, when we see the Merrill family pop up, it’s in an antagonistic way, would you say Chris is an antagonist or is he not as corrupt as the rest of the Merrills? 

MA: He comes from that background. That family is such a thread in Castle Rock. There is that crime family background for him.

But I think his intentions are good. I do believe he means well, when a lot of characters in this world aren’t always redeemable. Chris has that going for him.

1428 Elm: You mentioned that Chris wasn’t actually created by Stephen King. Do you feel that made things easier for you or more challenging?

MA: A little of both. It is daunting to enter a world that is so well-known and has such a big fanbase. But it was also exciting to get to create something from scratch to be part of that world.

1428 Elm: Were you already a fan of the show when you got cast?

MA: I was, I was a huge fan of Season 1. Funny story about that is I was initially going to work in Season 1 as one of the Shawshank prison guards. I was thrilled because of Shawshank and Stephen King.

But a few days before filming started, I broke my foot on another job and had to pull out. Somehow it worked out incredibly well, and I got this opportunity for Season 2. I get to come back as a Merrill family character. It worked out in a very cool way and I couldn’t be happier to be part of Season 2.

Castle Rock
CASTLE ROCK — “Local Color” – Episode 103 – The past catches up with Molly Strand. Ruth Deaver (Sissy Spacek) shown. (Photo by: Seacia Pavao/Hulu) /

1428 Elm: Were there any characters or actors you wish you could have interacted with from Season 1?

MA: All the characters and actors from Season 1 were so incredible. I think any opportunity to work with any of them would have been great. I’ve been a big Sissy Spacek fan for a long time, and I thought her work was fantastic, so that would be amazing.

1428 Elm: I’m guessing you’re a big Stephen King fan too. Were there any specific works from him that made you a fan?

MA: The first of his I read was Pet Sematary. I read that when I was a teenager. I think that one remains my favorite only because it opened the door for that world and the massive universe that he’s created. I’ve read so many since. When we started filming I started reading up on Salem’s Lot just because I wanted to be reminded what that world was like and get back into that mindset.

1428 Elm: The first one I read was Carrie. I’d love to see them add that on the show at some point.

MA: Oh yeah, that would be great. Who knows, maybe another season they might have a Carrie tie-in.

Castle Rock
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: Dustin Thomason, Barkhad Abdi, Yusra Warsama, Matthew Alan, Elsie Fisher, Tim Robbins, Lizzy Caplan and Paul Sparks attend Hulu “Castle Rock” Season 2 Premiere at AMC Sunset 5 on October 14, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu) /

1428 Elm: I know that Season 2 will have a big focus on Misery. Is that something that appealed to you?

MA: Yeah, I think that character is one of the most iconic. She’s a fascinating, interesting character, and the work Lizzy [Caplan] does this season with it is just incredible. I think because of the character and the fanbase behind that character it’s going to be an exhilarating and fun season.

1428 Elm: And this is one of your first big horror jobs.

MA: I’m a big fan of the genre, but I haven’t had the opportunity to work in too much of it. I got to work on the first episode of Lovecraft Country, which is J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele’s new HBO show coming out next year.

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That is the horror genre as well. It’s Lovecraftian storytelling. That was another chance to work in the horror genre. That was very exciting and cool. Other than that, I haven’t had much of an opportunity, so it’s been enjoyable.

1428 Elm: Is there anything that you’re excited for people to see from the upcoming season?

MA: I’m excited for people to see the merging of the different Stephen King worlds this season. Right out the gate, it’s an exciting, thrilling, and intense first episode, and it maintains that throughout the first season.

1428 Elm: I’m looking forward to watching it!

MA: Yes, it comes out on the 23rd, the first three episodes, and then one a week after that. I think that will give it a chance because there are so many interesting characters this season. I think three at once will help lay the groundwork.

1428 Elm: I’m curious to see Lizzy Caplan as Annie too.

MA: Yeah, she’s so fun to watch work. Throughout the season, her commitment to the character and the work itself is great to watch.

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1428 Elm: Thanks again for chatting with us. I hope the season gets excellent feedback, and I look forward to watching it!

MA: Thanks for talking with me, have a good one!

The first three episodes of Castle Rock: Season 2 premiere tomorrow, Oct. 23 on Hulu.