Colin Zabel wasn’t always the earnest, fumbling foil to Kate Winslet in HBO’s “Mare of Easttown.” In fact, in the now beloved drunken bar scene between actor Evan Peters and Winslet, Zabel was originally supposed to be filmed singing along to a KISS tune while nailing a trick pool shot at the table.

“I was working with a pool professional and trying to learn all these shots,” Peters revealed to Variety. “And then, [director] Craig [Zobel] was just like, ‘It doesn’t really match our guy. The guy we’ve been shooting, he’s not good at pool. He’s not a hot shot. He’s sort of floundering a little bit and he needs help.’ [This] was a chance to see that guy.”

So they pivoted away from the pool shark and into the bottle to attempt to capture those often embarrassing but almost always revealing drunken confessions from Zabel. Peters joined co-star Kate Winslet, director Zobel and writer and executive producer Brad Ingelsby for a deep dive into the making of this moment for Variety’s Making a Scene, presented by HBO.

“In the beginning, we talked about how it’s always interesting when you see a coworker out of context… especially at a wrap party or something, you see the sound guy, who was very serious or quiet, and then you see him at the bar and he’s shitcanned, absolutely wasted. It’s like, ‘I didn’t know you partied, I didn’t know you could get down like that,'” Peters said. “It’s that idea that you see [Zabel] out of context and you start to see him as a human being… he has demons of his own. It was an opportunity to show that there’s something off about this guy.”

Zabel was burdened with yet-to-be-revealed knowledge that he took credit for another detective’s work, which ultimately lead to cracking a case and his rising through the ranks. It was a secret that intermittently haunted his character, Peters’ even scribbled “living with the lie” in the corners of his script so he remembered.

The decision to play that moment smaller, not give Zabel the cool pool hall moment or have him constantly fighting his past 24/7 was entirely intentional.  “After a reunion, after a disappointment, [the lie] is returning to him,” said Ingelsby. “That, in my experience, is pretty normal. It’s not every moment of every day you’re haunted by the lie but in certain moments, in quiet moments, alone moments it comes back to you.”

“Mare of Easttown” thrives in those smaller moments. The dedication to lean into the reality of small-town life, uncovering the layers of drama baked into each glance and that ever-present bottle of Rolling Rock grounded the Emmy-nominated show.

“I came from St. Louis, Missouri,” Peters said. “So, I love the energy of this story. I understood it, things move a little bit slower, the relationships are so much bigger and richer. I feel like there’s more things to do in a bigger city, but there’s less interaction. When you’re in these small towns, the biggest, most exciting things that you’re doing are hanging out with your friends, and they just become so much bigger and more important than your life.”

“When we first started this project we talked a lot about the tone and what that was going to be, and wanted to have it be a, sort of hyper realistic kind of tone,” Peters said.

Zobel noted that he was very impressed by Peters’ ability to capture “what it’s really like being drunk and lost that I think we’ve all in our life at one point or another. Somehow he knew exactly how to ring that bell over and over again.”

The secret? Shots of apple cider vinegar. “In his shot glass that he drinks on camera, there was apple cider vinegar which made him have that reaction,” Winslet said. “And that’s a very smart idea. I’d never come up with that myself and that’s a good one I’m definitely going to steal that one for sure.”

“Sense memory can only take you so far,” explained Peters. “I find that when you take a shot of water, immediately …you’re like, ‘I’m in a scene.’ It really helps to give you something to feel that burn.”

But despite the familiar location and excellent company it wasn’t a simple shoot for Peters. “God love Evan. He was so nervous,” Winslet revealed.

“I think he was so in his character and so in the moment that I don’t think he was able to be metering that on his own,” Zobel added. “He came to me and was hugging me afterwards being like, ‘I don’t think I got it, we missed it.’ And I was like, ‘Trust me, we got it. It worked.'”

Reflecting on the experience, Peters explained: “It was really me tapping into this of all these missed opportunities — of failing, of missing the mark. … I’m working with Kate Winslet, this is such a huge opportunity, I want to do this right.”

But according to Winslet, Peters had nothing to be worried about. Her response to him was, “Stop all that, you’re doing it, keep fucking doing it.”

Watch the full video above.