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Interview: The Cast of ‘One of Us is Lying’ is More Than Meets the Lie

NEW YORK COMIC CON: Cast of Peacock's 'One Of Us Is Lying' // photo credit: Steven Prusakowski - Awards Radar

Gossip, romance, blackmail, and murder, just another day in high school – at least if that high school happens to be Bayview High, the setting for Peacock’s mystery drama One of Us Is Lying. The series is starting its second season with bigger stakes, higher intensity, and, of course, more secrets.

Revolving around four high school friends the studious Bronwyn (Marianly Tejada), the jock Cooper (Chibuikem Uche), the cheerleader Addy (Annalisa Cochrane), and the delinquent Nate (Cooper van Grootel), the series’ first season had the mismatched group working together to try and solve the mystery of who murdered perennial thorn in the side, gossiper Simon Kelleher (Mark McKenna). It is a murder for which they are the prime suspects. As the mystery unfolds we also learn about the more personal secrets each of them holds.  

The Murder Club (as they are called) are back for season two, tangled in a dangerous web of lies of their own making. Can they break free unscathed or will they fall victim to the questionable actions of season one? As you can tell One of Us Is Lying has no shortage of intrigue and mystery. For those who have not watched, I am purposely keeping things vague so you can enjoy the fun first hand.

Also returning for the second season are Jess McLeod (Janae), Melissa Collazo (Maeve) and Sara Thompson (Vanessa). Awards Radar the opportunity to sit down with the cast and showrunner Erica Salah during New York Comic Con to discuss the series and some spoiler-free info about season two. In addition are three new fun and insightful interviews (above and below.)

“The first season really takes care of the book and uses that very much as the spine of the mystery for the first season. For the second season, I wanted to tell the story of the people that I’ve murdered. We wanted to take these characters who have gone through such trauma in season one, and then right when they think they found their way to trusting each other, and they’re starting to live more honestly, they do this terrible thing and now have this bigger shared secret. We clearly have so much more to say about this and stories to tell about their friendships and their relationships,” said Salah.

That’s what makes the series stand out, these characters are learning about themselves as they are dealing with your standard high school issues multiplied by their situation. Viewers witness them taking extreme actions atypical of anything most of us have had to deal with. “I think the flaw (these characters have), which is a very human flaw, is that they’re so concerned with protecting themselves that they can often make decisions that may be hurting themselves or those around them,” explained Uche. “As they continue to own and discover themselves and become more honest and truthful, in that sense.”

The cast, who did not have the opportunity to speak face to face with fans or press for season one due to COVID, were excited to finally have the chance to discuss what makes the show so special. “You’re gonna be hooked to this show. The suspense is so good, especially season two,” said Tejada.You just fall in love with the characters and I feel like there’s someone relatable to like, pretty much anyone that watches the show.”

One of the best parts of the series is how familiar it feels, yet at the same time original. “If you enjoy The Breakfast Club, and Pretty Little Liars, which I feel are cult classics, then you’re going to enjoy the show. I think there’s elements of both of them in there. There’s just like, a lot of love and suspense and murder mystery andgossip, you’re always on the edge at the end of every episode. It’s bingeable cliffhangers. What’s more love that?,” expressed van Grootel. For the record, I would throw in a touch of Mean Girls and I Know What You Did Last Summer into the mix.

Beneath the surface level similarities there is much more to One of Us Is Lying. Salah touched upon making this more than a murder mystery or a high school drama. “It’s just really important to us to be putting stories on screen that I think are honest about who teenagers are now. Even though obviously, these kids are dealing with murder and larger than life circumstances, they’re also dealing with first love, pressure from their parents, gender identity and figuring out their sexuality. All of that is so real.” 

With so many characters it would be easy to paint them with broad strokes. Instead, the series adds an amount of depth that makes the characters relatable, each with their own traits. “This show, in comparison to other murder mysteries, it flushes out the characters and lets them be human. The whole show doesn’t feel like it’s only about the murderer, it almost feels like, that’s just the backdrop to what these characters are going through in their lives,” exclaimed Collazo. 

Tejada echoed this when she spoke about how connected to her character, Bronwyn. “She just cares so much about her loved ones. I’m very determined and ambitious too, but she’s way more intense about how she gets what she wants – a little bit more structured than I am, but she has a huge heart. That’s where her energy and intensity comes from.”

“It’s always surprising and keeps you on your toes. Everyone has something going on in their own life – what are these characters dealing with, the struggle and the pressures of high school, family and then there’s Simon Says (the season two game to threatens to expose the Murder Club’s secrets.) That’s what makes it really exciting too, because the stakes are always so high.” Cochrane agreed, “It’s just nice to kind of see I think like teens grappling with some of these really hard things, but they ultimately find that doing it together is the way that they can.” 

Even with murder and blackmail at every turn, there’s still room for romance and even some humor. “What’s great about Bronwyn and Nate too is that they’ve completely different family dynamics, but they both feel like they don’t really fit into this world. So I feel like that’s why there’s such a cute couple,” said van Grootel.

While you may not expect to laugh during a murder mystery, the series finds the right balance, to offset the drama. “I think the show is best when it doesn’t take itself too seriously,” said McLeod whose character Janae supplies her fair share of moments of brevity amidst the high stakes. “There’s moments of the season that are so outrageous, and so silly in a way that is peak this genre, peak teen drama.” Thompson added, “I think there’s a little bit of humor thrown in there, which is fun. It helps. It’s a pretty dark show, especially this upcoming season.” 

Season two presented something very new to the cast, the feeling of not knowing where their characters’ storylines would be headed. “That was new for us for season two,” explained Collazo. “Because when we went into season one we’re working from the book, so we were aware of what was going to happen. So this time around, it was a totally new experience. We truly had no idea where it was going.”

Going in blind keeps the cast on their toes, alway trying to figure out what the fate of their character would be. “They keep that information from – they really do. They keep us guessing about the show’s secrets. We talk too much,” professed Thompson.  “We have all our theories. I mean, truly, all of us are, like always texting and talking on set about our different theories about what’s going to happen,” said Cochrane.

The interviews were more hangout sessions that had the cast laughing and finishing each other’s sentences. This off-screen chemistry between cast mates is undeniable and carries over into the episodes. McLeod expressed the importance of it all, “I think the chemistry with all of us is really great. I can’t say that I’ve ever been on a show where everyone so genuinely likes and supports each other. We just grow stronger.”

This bond between the cast is crucial when elevating a series above your standard light fare high school drama. One of Us is Lying presents issues and elements that transcend beyond the characters and into today’s world struggles. “One thing about this show, everyone’s morals will be challenged. There’s a lot of emphasis on being true to yourself, and the power of relationships.To watch all that will be discovered, with such high stakes scenarios, and seeing some of these typical high school dynamics is entertaining,” said Uche.  

Be sure to watch season one of One of Us is Lying before diving into all the excitement of season two which premiered in its entirety this week. Both can be found streaming exclusively on Peacock. Welcome to the Murder Club!

*** And certainly watch exclusive additional interviews not covered in this article below.


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[…] Interview: The Cast of ‘One of Us is Lying’ is More Than Meets the Lie […]



Written by Steven Prusakowski

Steven Prusakowski has been a cinephile as far back as he can remember, literally. At the age of ten, while other kids his age were sleeping, he was up into the late hours of the night watching the Oscars. Since then, his passion for film, television, and awards has only grown. For over a decade he has reviewed and written about entertainment through publications including Awards Circuit and Screen Radar. He has conducted interviews with some of the best in the business - learning more about them, their projects and their crafts. He is a graduate of the RIT film program. You can find him on Twitter and Letterboxd as @FilmSnork – we don’t know why the name, but he seems to be sticking to it.

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