Under the Dome traps the horror within

Rachelle Lefevre pictured in a scene from the TV series Under the Dome.
Rachelle Lefevre pictured in a scene from the TV series Under the Dome. Michael Tackett/2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Contributed by Network Ten.

A FLIGHT to Australia was key to Stephen King's thriller Under the Dome.


The bestselling author was inspired to revisit the sci-fi novel, which he'd unsuccessfully tried to pen in 1976 and then again in 1979, during a flight Down Under in 2006.

"I was on a plane trip to Australia, it's a 14-hour ride, and I started to think about Under the Dome and I thought to myself 'You know, you really ought to try again'," King said in a 2009 interview.

"The good ideas never really leave your mind. It's like a baseball player saying 'I missed a really fast pitch and I'd really like to have another chance at that particular hanging curve ball'. In a way that's what it was."

Fast forward to 2013 and King is now serving as an executive producer on the small-screen adaptation of Under the Dome alongside Steven Spielberg.

Under the Dome - Ten - Tuesday at 8.30pm

An invisible, seemingly impenetrable barrier suddenly drops on the small town of Chesters Mill, trapping everyone inside.

They cannot communicate with the outside world by radio, mobile phones or television.

They can only write messages for people on the other side to read.

Like any small town, everyone knows each other, but everyone has a secret to hide.

Star Rachelle Lefevre, best known for her role in the first two Twilight films, says King is exploring "the horror within".

"It's not horror; it's what people are capable of that is horrifying," she told North Carolina's WRAL TV.

Filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, the show also stars Breaking Bad's Dean Norris, Mike Vogel, Britt Robertson, Aisha Hinds and Natalie Martinez.

The flame-haired Lefevre plays journo Julia Shumway, who has only recently moved to Chesters Mill with her husband Phil.

"The main thing that sets her apart from the other characters is everyone else who lives in this town, has grown up there and intends to stay there; they're at home," she said.

"For her it's more of a stop over, so she's one of these people who are trapped in a place she never really intended to stay."

She quickly forms a bond with Dale "Barbie" Barbara, a mysterious stranger who gets trapped inside the dome and initially helps to save lives.

Under the Dome is a thriller, but not a post-apocalyptic one.

"It's exactly the world as you know it and nothing is different, except there's an invisible barrier and you can't leave where you are," Lefevre said.

"Nobody gets in and nobody gets out.

"The rest of the world hasn't been destroyed. It's right there. You can see it; you just can't get to it."

In the book the dome is a metaphor for the Earth, humanity's own bubble in the expanse of space.

"We all live under the dome," King said.

"We have this little blue world that we've all seen from outer space and it appears like that's about all there is."

"It's a rare and wonderful and fragile thing."

The fragility of Chesters Mill quickly becomes apparent, as its residents begin to come to grips with dwindling resources and their isolation.

As the cracks begin to show, secrets begin to spill out.

Natalie Martinez and Josh Carter pictured in a scene from the TV series Under the Dome.
Natalie Martinez and Josh Carter pictured in a scene from the TV series Under the Dome. Best Possible Screen Grab/2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. - Contributed by Network Ten