Non-Spoiler Alert: The creative team behind the AppleTV+ thriller series Defending Jacob say that reading William Landay’s 2012 novel of the same name on which the series is based — or even just Googling the plot — will not spoil the enjoyment of the series.
Of course, writer and executive producer Mark Bomback would prefer that TV watchers not go to Google before sitting down to watch the 8-episode series. However, he said “the truth is, I don’t want to spoil anything myself, other than to say that (reading a plot summary) would not tell you the ultimate plot of the series. You’d get sort of a version of events that would skew somewhat differently by the time you were done.”
Bomback appeared on today’s panel with Director/EP Morton Tyldum, EP and star Chris Evans via satellite from Boston, and cast members Michelle Dockery and Jaeden Martell, who portrays their 16-year-old (and possibly guilty) son.
Bomback confirmed the series began its life as a feature film in development at Warner Bros. and the book came to him after the WB option ran out. He said having eight episodes led to a more character-driven story than might have been possible in a movie.
Bomback continued on the spoiler theme by saying that the book is from one characters’ perspective, the father’s, but since as a writer he had little access into the other characters’ perception of the situation. “(That) inherently starts to change the narrative itself, and ultimately even starts to impact the way (Andy Barber, played by Evans) is in the book, in the story,” he said. “There are similarities, but I don’t think it’s going to detract from the experience.”
He added author Landay served as a consultant and gave his blessing to any reinventions in the TV version.
Tyldum agreed. He said that Bomback’s script “actually made (the story) better,” adding that even if you know the book, “there will be big surprises.”
Cast members said it was not difficult for them to create the feeling of family on the set. Evans and Martell were both in the recent movie “Knives Out.” Dockery said with a laugh she likes “doing accents’ so enjoyed the chance to play another American character.
For his part, Evans enjoyed portraying a parent but acknowledged more fans know him from his superhero roles than more naturalistic roles, When fans approach him “That’s usually what they lead with, “ he joked.