Jessica Biel talks about how “Nothing surprises us anymore” with TV Guide
Jessica spoke with TV Guide about “The Sinner,” and you can check it out below!
Can you remember the last time a TV series shocked you? Not scared you, à la The Walking Dead. Not made you cry like This Is Us or look away like Game of Thrones, but really rattled you and made you ponder for days what you just watched. It’s a harder question to answer than you first think, argues Jessica Biel, on a break from filming her new USA miniseries, The Sinner.
“Nothing surprises us anymore,” says the 35-year-old actress. “As a society we’ve seen everything already because we can just find it online. Nothing is salacious. Nothing makes us curious.” The Sinner, she promises, will take your breath away.
Based on the 2008 German novel by Petra Hammesfahr, the series stars Biel (who is also an executive producer) as Cora Tannetti, a twentysomething mother living in a small town in Upstate New York. Cora and her husband, Mason (Girls’ Christopher Abbott), lead relatively humdrum lives. They work for his father’s heating and cooling company, which they’ll eventually take over. They eat dinner every night with his parents. Cora keeps the house spotless and takes pills for her insomnia. “They really are regular people,” Biel explains. “Their marriage is just OK—but a lot of people have a marriage that’s maybe just OK.”
Then, while on a family trip to the state beach, Cora is peeling fruit one minute and using the knife to stab a 29-year-old med student nine times in the neck and chest the next. There are dozens of witnesses, including Mason, their son and the dead man’s wife and best friend. Perhaps even more disturbing, Cora has no idea why she did it. She didn’t even know the guy…or so she thinks at the time.
The Sinner doesn’t sound like the obvious choice for Biel—who became famous playing eldest daughter Mary on the treacly WB/CW family drama 7th Heaven—to make her return to series television. And while she admits that playing against type is actually one of the things she liked about the project, what really intrigued her was the material’s unique outlook on sin and the many turns the complicated story takes. “As I read [the novel], I kept going, ‘I know where this is going—there’s no way this could be interesting,’” she says. “And then it would just take a completely different direction.”
“The Sinner” premieres on August 2nd on USA at 10/9c!