Even if you’ve read Karen M. McManus’ bestselling novel One of Us is Lying you won’t be able to predict who killed Simon on the Peacock series. The 2021 New York Comic Con virtual panel included writers and actors from the series. There will be new suspects and twists that keep everyone guessing. “We have the same central mystery,” said Erica Saleh, who penned the pilot, but there’s more in store.
The show — the first three episodes of which are currently available to stream — essentially asks “what if Gossip Girlhe was detained with The Breakfast Club” and turns that question into a murder mystery when a high school student in detention is killed. Just like the John Hughes movie, the four suspects come from four corners of the teenage social hierarchy, and all “have secrets that they would literally kill for,” according to showrunner Darío Madrona. Addy is the princess; “Pressure to be perfect has absolutely gotten to her,” said actress Annalisa Cochrane. Cooper Clay is the athlete “on his way to signing a Major League deal,” according to actor Chibuikem Uche. Nate McCauley is the burnout “from the wrong side of the tracts,” per actor Cooper van Grootel). Finally, there’s the brain, Bronwyn Rojas. “[She’s]Not really focused on her[self] because she’s so preoccupied on her future that she doesn’t seem too young or too much fun,” said actress Marianly Tejada.
“When you are a teenager everything feels so important,” said Madrona. Madrona also co-created the popular series for young adults. Elite, though insisted that this series is thematically quite different and won’t be nearly as scandalous beyond the inciting murder. “Everything is so heightened. Each day is like the previous. Everything is the most important thing in the moment.”
Simon is the murder victim and appears in flashbacks from his first episode. Simon was a gossip blogger in his life. Gossip GirlHe terrorized his high school students. “He takes it upon himself to reveal everyone’s secrets,” said Mark McKenna (Simon). Every time you see Simon in a flashback, it’s through a living character’s memory. His reputation means that each character might remember him differently. “I got to interpret every scene differently,” McKenna said of the flashbacks.
This book is the best. One of Us is Lying is based on uses multiple perspectives to go in and out of different characters’ point of views and present a series of unreliable narrators. The series incorporates unreliable flashbacks to recreate the experience of reading the book. Even if the show has thrown some wrenches into the novels’ plot as red herrings so as to not spoil the mystery, those behind the scenes have found other ways to create a faithful adaptation.
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