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Interview: Joan Allen on Working With Stephen King and Capturing the Humanity in ‘Lisey’s Story’

3-time Oscar nominee Joan Allen has been more selective in recent years, making every time she takes on a new project quite the event. Her latest appearance is as one of the main characters in Lisey’s Story, the new Apple TV+ limited series directed by Pablo Larraín and based on a novel by Stephen King

This isn’t the first time that Allen has worked on a Stephen King adaptation, as she appeared in 2014’s A Good Marriage. Both projects were adapted to the screen by King himself, giving the actress a close relationship with his writing and the way that he develops his characters for the screen. 

Her affinity for his work is something that came up in my recent conversation with the legendary actress as we spoke about her work in the new series, and the difficult role that she takes on in it. Allen portrays Amanda Debusher, the troubled sister of Lisey Landon (Julianne Moore), a widow trying to recover from the death of her husband Scott (Clive Owen). Amanda had a strong connection with Scott, something that has extended beyond his passing and links her to Lisey’s journey over the course of the series. 

Amanda struggles with mental health issues and self-harming tendencies, a character who could have been played far too broad in the wrong hands, yet Allen imbues her with humanity at every step, making for a compelling and empathetic portrayal that resonates deeply. While my conversation with the actress wasn’t too lengthy, she spoke beautifully about her passion for the project and this character, something which comes across in her performance. 

See my full conversation with Joan Allen below: 


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Written by Mitchell Beaupre

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