When it comes to the world of horror, Stephen King doesn't need to regularly rely on gruesome violence to craft an effective story, but that isn't to say that some of his stories don't contain horrifying elements. Coming soon to the Audience Network is Mr. Mercedes, based on King's novel, which features a serial killer who kills a group of people after plowing into them with his car. Despite how vile these acts are, director and executive producer Jack Bender explained at the Television Critics Association summer press tour that his goal with the sequence isn't to glamorize violence and how to depict violent experiences.
In the original novel, the group of people
"We can't keep up with the mess in the world…it affects me and all of us in a certain way," he said. "I felt there was a responsibility to show that in our show." He added that one of his goals with the series was to "show it in a realistic way but not put any kind of frame about it."
Star Brendan Gleeson was relieved to discover that this opening sequence was based on a real event and wasn't just conjured from the recesses of King's imagination.
"It has been taken from life into art. I was uneasy with the notion of putting this out there. Anybody can get into a car. It already has existed," Gleeson confessed. "For our point of view, there's no indulgence in the violence for titillation...the consequences are very real."
Harry Treadaway plays the man behind the wheel, "Mr. Mercedes" himself. In order to get into the complicated headspace of a serial killer, the actor said he watched UFC, Shark
"It's terrifying and sad and disturbing that we have people out there that obviously need help and don't find it," detailed Treadaway. "I think Stephen King taps into the zeitgeist of what scares us so amazingly well."
The horrible act being based on a real event "made it seem truthful and real," according to Treadway. "It was just fascinating trying to empathize with someone who had no empathy."
About what the show depicted, Gleeson admitted, "It's about the beast within." He added, "They're all haunted, but haunted in a very human way."
Mr. Mercedes premieres on Audience Network on August 9.