“The Afterparty” on Apple TV Plus is a modern murder mystery about a group of high school friends interrogated by the police when one of their own is murdered during their 15-year reunion. For many cast members, the draw of the series was getting to act in a genre they were huge fans of.
“I feel like saying you don’t like murder mysteries is saying you don’t like music,” Dave Franco, who plays “The Afterparty” murder victim Xavier, said in a Variety streaming room conversation. “Who doesn’t like figuring out these little mysteries? My wife, one of her favorite movies is ‘Clue.’ So that’s on repeat in our household. I think the best ones are the ones where the mystery of it all, like, yes, you’re excited, you want to know what’s going on, but ultimately, you almost don’t even care. You’re just there for the journey, you’re invested in the characters. And so I’m just trying to bring a full circle because I think our show does that very well.”
Franco was joined by his fellow “Afterparty” cast members Zoë Chao, Sam Richardson and Ben Schwartz in a conversation with Variety deputy awards and features editor Jenelle Riley. The four discussed working together, their favorite murder mysteries and working with creator and director Christopher Miller on the show.
Richardson previously worked with Miller and his longtime producing partner Phil Lord briefly, on the short-lived sitcom “Son of Zorn.” Richardson said he was a huge fan of the two and their work, and admires them for the inventive projects they have helmed, so he was excited to jump on board regardless of what the project was.
“When they called me to talk to me about this project, it was an automatic yes,” Richardson said. “They were like, ‘Oh, we’ve got this fun murder mystery, high school reunion where it’s all different genres and you would be rom-com.’ And I was like, ‘you had me at, you have a project,’ but I was excited to jump on board. And then, everyone in the show is a star of their own show and has led a series before. So the idea of bringing us all together in this ensemble sounds like such a great project and idea. And I think really nailed it. And it was just such a great thing to be a part of.”
In the season finale of “The Afterparty,” Xavier’s killer is ultimately revealed to be Schwartz’s character Yasper, the goofy best friend of Richardson’s Aniq. According to Schwartz, he learned that he would be playing the killer from the minute he was cast, when Miller reached out to him about starring in the show.
[SPOILERS TO FOLLOW: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FINAL EPISODE OF “THE AFTERPARTY”]
“In that initial email that I got, Chris said, ‘I wrote this character with you in mind. It’s a genre thing. You’re a musical. And also even more fun, you’re the killer and you’re the only one that knows right now.’ That’s when I called him. And I was like, ‘Ooh, I get to do a song. And I get to do my speech at the end.’ So I knew from the very beginning, which was amazing because throughout the entire show, I got to layer it in ways that I would not have been able before.”
The rest of the cast read the complete scripts for the show before shooting began, and knew that Yasper would be the killer ahead of time. But according to Zhao, that knowledge didn’t stop the reveal from being an emotional moment for the cast to film.
“We had read the scripts, when we began shooting, we knew who the killer was, but then five months later, when we were shooting that reveal scene, it was devastating just to have to live it because we all fell in love with the Yasper and Ben and it just was such a bummer that someone had to have done it,” Chao said. “And his performance in that reveal is so moving too, because you do understand how he just got so twisted up in the wrong things. But yeah, I think it’s a testament to the brilliant writing.”
“The Afterparty” is currently streaming on Apple TV Plus. Watch the full conversation above.