×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jessica Biel on Executive Producing Her First Series, ‘The Sinner’: ‘Sometimes You Just Got to Do It Yourself’

Jessica Biel may have began her career as a reverend’s daughter on “7th Heaven,” but viewers won’t see the same squeaky-clean portrayal of religion on her new show, USA Network’s “The Sinner.”

Aside from the darker portrayal of religion, “The Sinner” is also the first time Biel has stepped into an executive producing role on a television series — something she calls “gold.”

“Sometimes you just got to do it yourself,” Biel said at “The Sinner” premiere at New York City’s Crosby Street Hotel on Monday night. “Not that I’m doing this all myself, but I have this opportunity to develop this material with my producing partners, be a part of the casting process, work with the writers, work with our creator, and really be hands-on with the character arcs. As a creative person, that’s the gold.”

“The Sinner” — based on Petra Hammesfahr’s book of the same title — follows Cora Bender (Biel), a young mother and wife who, on a day trip to the lake, commits a public and seemingly random act of murder. The eight-episode miniseries progresses to unravel Cora’s motives and flashes back to her childhood, a strict, shame-oriented Catholic household.

Derek Simonds, the show’s creator, sees “The Sinner” as an “inverted” take on a classic whodunnit crime-mystery by focusing more on the “why,” rather than the “who” or “what,” which are revealed in the premiere.

“This inverted idea, we know the who, the what, the where, but we don’t know the why,” Simonds said. “That I hadn’t really seen in such a clear way as this story. Instead of looking for the DNA evidence that leads you to the killer or a cat-and-mouse game, it is all about the psyche of the person. Always asking the question: ‘What could have triggered her to do this?’”

As for the show’s understanding of religion, Bill Pullman, who plays Detective Harry Ambrose, the investigator working on Cora’s case, argues that the “The Sinner’s” idea of “sinning” isn’t specific to religion, but is extended to the simple nature of right and wrong.

“People, even beyond the church-going experience, have co-opted this idea of what is right and wrong,” Pullman said. “Sinning, whether they think of it the same way as a Catholic would, it still means that they understand that there’s some baser aspect of themselves, that they’ve broken some convenance they’re living under. We’re all doing it all the time. We’re all sinners.”

“The Sinner” premieres August 2 at 10 p.m. on USA Network.

More Scene

  • Donald Trump Chucky Childs Play

    'Child's Play' Stars on New Chucky's 'Creepy' Resemblance to Donald Trump

    At Wednesday night’s world premiere of the “Child’s Play” remake, it was obvious that evil doll Chucky — the star of seven films over three decades — had a little work done. And now he bears a striking resemblance to Donald Trump. “Oh, you caught that?” Aubrey Plaza asked Variety on the black carpet outside [...]

  • Cara Delevingne attends The Trevor Project's

    Cara Delevingne Recalls Producers Saying That Being Queer Will Hurt Her Career

    Hollywood may be celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month with displays of the rainbow flag and lots of talk about supporting diversity and inclusion, but Cara Delevingne says there’s still work to be done. “Behind closed doors, we are still being told, as I have, by powerful Hollywood producers that we can’t make it if we’re queer,” [...]

  • Kiernan Shipka and Ross LynchMTV Movie

    MTV Movie & TV Awards: What You Didn't See on TV

    Many of the biggest stars in movies and television — including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kiernan Shipka, Sandra Bullock, Tessa Thompson and Brie Larson — came together to present and receive honors at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards, hosted by “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi. And while non-attendees are able to enjoy [...]

  • Dan Stevens

    'Legion' Star Dan Stevens Says His Character Would Fight Thanos, 'Wreak Havoc' in MCU

    Dan Stevens said his powerful, telepathic mutant Legion would do some serious damage if he ever crossed over from the eponymous FX series into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Legion would wreak havoc. He’d probably take on Thanos, let’s see that,” he told Variety on the red carpet at the premiere of the trippy, mind-bending superhero series [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content