Ryan Kwanten in SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES - Season 2 | ©2020 Facebook Watch/Blumhouse

Ryan Kwanten in SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES – Season 2 | ©2020 Facebook Watch/Blumhouse

The fantasy-tinged thriller series SACRED LIES, created by Raelle Tucker, is now in its second season on Facebook Watch, with new episodes premiering Thursdays. Each season of SACRED LIES tells a different story. In this year’s SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES, Juliette Lewis plays Harper, who works a telemarketing job so that she can pursue true calling, namely unearthing the identities of murdered Jane Does so that they can be laid to rest. Harper crosses paths with Elsie (Jordan Alexander), a young musician. Elsie’s incarcerated father Peter, played by Ryan Kwanten, has something to do with the disappearance of two sisters years earlier.

Native Angeleno Lewis, a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for her work in CAPE FEAR, has had many roles in film and television. A few of her more notable credits include NATURAL BORN KILLERS, STRANGE DAYS, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, OLD SCHOOL, WHIP IT, SECRETS AND LIES, and THE CONNERS.

Kwanten, originally from Australia, was a producer and star on two seasons of THE OATH, a drama series about gangs within police departments. Kwanten previously played Louisiana sheriff’s deputy Jason Stackhouse on TRUE BLOOD. His feature credits include DEAD SILENCE, RED HILL, GRIFF THE INVISIBLE, THE HURRICANE HEIST, SUPERCON, and KILL CHAIN.

Lewis and Kwanten sit down together to talk about their work on SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES.

ASSIGNMENT X: Is telemarketing the most depressing day job ever held by a character you’ve played?

JULIETTE LEWIS: Right? That’s what I would say. And it’s perfect for a person who doesn’t want to socialize or really interact with others. And it’s kind of funny for her, because she’s not a people person, and she gets exasperated. So we touch on that a little bit. And then her true passion is what we see. They do a great reveal of seeing what she’s looking at, which is all these unsolved cases and pictures and clues. And that’s really the inside of her mind.

AX: She has something like a homicide detective’s murder board …

LEWIS: That’s it, yeah.

RYAN KWANTEN: Yeah, there’s murder boards, and then there’s murder boards.

LEWIS: Yeah, there’s a murder board [laughs]. And she would make an amazing detective if she could quote-unquote play well with others. But her freedom is in that she doesn’t have to follow the rules, and she thinks she knows better than them, because she cares more.

Juliette Lewis in SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES - Season 2 | ©2020 Facebook Watch/Blumhouse

Juliette Lewis in SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES – Season 2 | ©2020 Facebook Watch/Blumhouse

AX: Your character Peter is imprisoned when we meet him, and then we have flashbacks to when he was free?


AX: You’ve been acting in the police and crime sphere a bit. In TRUE BLOOD, you were a sheriff’s deputy, and in THE OATH, you were a police detective, and now you’re a prisoner. So is this subject matter an area of interest to you?

KWANTEN: Absolutely, very much so. I think these kinds of characters, they almost exist better when there is a conflict around them, and there is a web of deceit and deception. That’s the world that I love to play in. There are so many more intricacies to a character when there are rabbit holes you go down that you’re definitely not sure where you’re going to end up. And this guy was one of those for me. He was a real trip to play. Particularly bouncing back and forth between those two time periods, one where he has sort of found a level of connection, and the other one where he’s trying to deny it.

AX: The denial is in the present.?


LEWIS: He had such a neat leap to make, just being young and mischievous, or whatever adjectives you want to use, and then they grayed up your hair and it really was like, “Oh, gosh, you look older.” [laughs] And so the two sides of this personality that you got to play visually was interesting, and then internally, right?

KWANTEN: Absolutely. Yeah, you know yourself, those places that you go to. And as a young man, this is a guy that, all he’d ever wanted was some sense of connection, of a future. And being raised in this world of vigorous violence, it never gave it to him, and that trauma stayed with him for a long time, and that’s something that we all, all three characters share, not necessarily the violent aspect, but the traumatic aspect of being affected by it, and not necessarily facing the truth.

AX: What’s the age jump for your character, eighteen years?

KWANTEN: Around there, yeah.

AX: Is your actual age somewhere in the middle?

KWANTEN: I’m forty-two. So my age is probably closer to Peter.

AX: Is it fun, or is it confusing, or challenging, to go back and forth between the different ages, and the different environments?

KWANTEN: It was definitely hard work for makeup. They’re the ones who’ve got to age me up, age me down. There are certain physical characteristics that help me dive into the psychological side of things, but it’s kind of what we do. I enjoy it. I want those kinds of challenges. It’s the first time I’ve done it in one production.

AX: And the character you played in two seasons of SECRETS AND LIES was also trying to get to the bottom of crimes, but unlike Harper, she was a professional police detective, so that was her job.

LEWIS: Uh-huh.

AX: She was unflinching and very …

LEWIS: Tightly wound, serious.

AX: How is Harper wound?

LEWIS: Totally different. Well, different in that Harper is very serious, but she has this masked vulnerability that’s right there underneath the surface. But how is she different? She is a gay woman who really leans into what the [masculine-style clothing] is. I was playing her as an amalgamation of gay women, friends of mine, and also a little bit of my brother, if that helps [laughs]. She’s known who she was since the day she was born, she just hasn’t really been living in her heart. She’s one of those people who is, “I don’t need anybody, no people, no problems. And this is my mission. I do it better than you. I’m going to give dignity back to these victims.” Because she couldn’t save her sister. So that’s her through-line. But for me, she’s different in that she’s so not by the book, and she’s really idiosyncratic. And I just like people who hoard, or don’t leave their house a lot. When you’re playing a character, sometimes you use elements of yourself, and then you exaggerate, you’re like, “Oh, I’ll use this color.” And so for me, I understand what it’s like to be a recluse. And so much of a part of her, from how she looks and behaves tells who she is, is also the set design –

SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES - Season 2 - Key Art | ©2020 Facebook Watch/Blumhouse

SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES – Season 2 – Key Art | ©2020 Facebook Watch/Blumhouse

KWANTEN: That’s exactly what I was going to say –

LEWIS: The apartment! When you walk into her apartment, you’re like, “Oh, this person, she barely cleans, she snacks constantly.” There’s no self-care, but there is someone passionately invested in one thing, and that’s solving these crimes, and we learn why.

AX: You say you understand what it’s like to be a recluse. Is that what you like to do when you’re not working?

LEWIS: I don’t know if this is a midlife thing, or being a public person of whatever – when you work a lot, and then, I joke, “I can do nothing, really hard.” [laughs] You shut the world out. No, I’m going through different phases, depending on what I’m digesting as a human being, and living through. But not in an unhealthy way. I have a close circle of friends, and my pups, and all that stuff. We want to stay connected to the warm stuff of life.

AX: Do your two characters interact much?

LEWIS: Yes. We didn’t have a lot of scenes together, but we really had one incredible one. [laughs] And then I don’t want to give away story, I guess, so I can’t really say much, but it’s a really dramatic showdown, could I say?

KWANTEN: Yeah. It’s our show’s version of a Western, the standoff moment where they take paces and look at each other and face the truth.

AX: Do you have any other projects going on that we should know about?

LEWIS: There will be a couple movies coming out. One is called BREAKING NEWS IN YUBA COUNTY, Tate Taylor directed, it stars Allison Janney and Wanda Sykes, a very funny movie, I get to be in that. And then the HBO miniseries I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, it’s a few episodes. I got to work with Mark Ruffalo, who I’ve known for years, and then a Showtime series that we just shot the pilot for, called YELLOWJACKETS.

KWANTEN: A movie called LOVELAND, a movie called 2067, and a television series for Amazon called THEM.

AX: And what would you most like people to know about SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES?

LEWIS: That it’s an awesome show.

KWANTEN: Yeah. We put our heart and soul into this, and if people get even an inkling of what we put into it, they’re going to love it.

This interview was conducted during Facebook Watch’s portion of the Winter 2020 Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.

Related: Exclusive Interview with SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES creator Raelle Tucker and Director Scott Winant on Season 2

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Article: Exclusive Interview with SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES actors Juliette Lewis and Ryan Kwanten


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