Juliette Lewis is no stranger to a good mystery, and Sacred Lies: The Singing Bones had her hooked early on.
The Blumhouse Television series, in which Lewis plays the dogged armchair detective Harper, continues to stream new episodes on Facebook Watch. It was something different for Lewis, the film and TV star who’s played a wide variety of roles in both mediums.
So what got her interested in this particular series? And how did Harper compare to some of her past memorable roles? Juliette told Nerdophiles that and more in our new interview, ahead of today’s new episode of Sacred Lies.
Nerdophiles: What interested you about Sacred Lies: The Singing Bones originally?
Juliette Lewis: It’s a two-part thing. First, it hooked me with the script and [I was] like, this is fast. These characters I haven’t seen. I knew exactly how I would play Harper. It left you on a cliffhanger all the time. I love Raelle Tucker, the show creator, and writer. She [wrote and produced on] True Blood and her vision for this, there’s so much heart. Sometimes this genre can be very cold, but this is so human, and there’s different people that we don’t normally get to see on [TV}, on a queer-centric kind of storyline.
And personally, with my character, I just love it because she’s a hermit and she has no social graces, but she desperately wants to find and give the dignity back to these murdered women who have no name. And we learn about why she’s obsessed in that way, through her own traumatic backstory. Everybody comes from a place of trauma, and I just loved Raelle’s intention with the series. To quote Ryan [Kwanten], my co-star, he’s saying “It’s haunting and healing.”
NP: Harper is described as an armchair detective, but you’ve played actual detectives before, like Andrea Cornell in Secrets & Lies. So did any of that prior experience inform this character?
JL: Yeah. It was interesting because I had to be true to who this personality was, which is someone who thinks they know better than the cop because she’s deeply connected to the victim in a different way, as we learn through her own traumatic backstory. It gave me a lot of freedom because she’s not a detective. So she can break the rules in ways that detectives can’t, and then she won’t reveal how she did that.
But I joked with Raelle when I first met with her; I was like oh, you mean that the hundred hours or so that I’ve watched [Investigation Discovery] and Forensic Files is my preparation for this role.
NP: How much does Harper’s storyline wind up intersecting with that of Elsie (Jordan Alexander)? Do you get to interact with other actors, given that Harper is somewhat of a lone wolf?
JL: We definitely have a culmination of all these storylines. Ryan’s character [Peter] and Elsie, the flashbacks, of course, that’s in a different time. It’s interesting to talk to Ryan about that stuff because he’s playing a character 15 years prior. But there’s definitely a showdown or some heavy dramatic moments. And I just think they did so good at leading you. There’s such an art to serialized storytelling. It blows my mind when it’s done well. It leaves you hooked and then you get questions answered.
NP: Did you want to know some of those answers in advance before you started shooting Sacred Lies?
JL: I do like to know because my DNA really is in the film. So I do like to know where I’m going to end up. But of course, individual themes, and how you talk, and things like that is from script to script. But I got the whole story upfront from Raelle, which is unusual. They had all ten episodes written, which is totally unusual. They usually have the arc and they’ll tell you some main things, but they don’t have all their scripts written.
NP: What was your favorite moment from the season?
JL: There were a couple of moments. It’s funny because I’ve been doing this 30 years and I still sometimes marvel at, wow, I was able to emote today. There’s some tough days emotionally. There’s one scene I love when I confront the detective. That was quite fun because my characters doesn’t have social niceties, but she’s also not really a hothead. So when emotion spills out, it can be a little bit volatile and she didn’t intend it. That was fun because you know how we’re all conditioned to behave and she really messes up.
NP: Do you have other favorite roles that you’d recommend to fans after Sacred Lies: The Singing Bones?
JL: Ma, that’s another Blumhouse [production], it’s a horror movie starring Octavia Spencer. I just loved it cause it reminded me of thrillers that I grew up on; it’s more psychological. And then I do have this series coming out with Mark Ruffalo for HBO called I Know This Much Is True. It’s another limited series, six-part series.
New episodes of Sacred Lies: The Singing Bones premiere Thursdays at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET exclusively on Facebook Watch.