Juliette Lewis is lowkey an acting legend in the realm of the dark and macabre. She’s most known for her work in films with dark themes such as Natural Born Killers, Cape Fear, From Dusk Til Dawn; her acting resume more than speaks for itself. In recent years, she’s continued that trajectory of weighty thematic material in films like August: Osage County as well as notable work in the recent crime drama series The Act. Now, Juliette Lewis is taking on a new role in SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES as armchair detective Harper, who very much has her own agenda while tackling a series of Jane Doe cases.
For the release of the Facebook Watch series, we had the opportunity to chat with Juliette Lewis where we discussed everything from playing a character so fundamentally different from herself to the heavy themes presented in the series.
What was it about the character of Harper that drew you to the role?
Juliette Lewis: The character was unlike anything I’d seen or heard. I read the script and was like oof, I know exactly how I would play her. I liked how strange she was and I loved being without vanity. I was playing a person that’s a hermit who has the biggest, giant, traumatized heart but has no social graces, she is a mess of a human being. I just loved everything about it. I loved [creator] Raelle Tucker and [director] Scott Winant when I met them and I love a good murder mystery. I felt like this series was fresh, it had a fresh take.
I think one of the reasons I really liked Harper was because I could see a little of myself in her. Where did you draw inspiration for Harper and how did you approach the character?
Juliette Lewis: It’s really interesting to play a personality so different than my own, meaning everything is oppressed and repressed. All the emotional stuff is kind of squashed and denied so when it all comes out it’s really rich and explosive. She was an amalgamation of people I’ve seen, guys I’ve known, gay women I’ve known, introverts… she’s [Harper] an introvert so that’s a different energy. I always approach the character with sort of how they behave, where my voice sits, and their energy. The fact that she [Harper] sort of speaks monotone – I loved all of that. I loved that each episode offered me something new to expose and reveal about her.
Something I noticed about Harper was how much she enjoyed having something to snack on. Was that trait always part of the script?
Juliette Lewis: That was always written and it was funny cause I was like, “Oh my God, you guys know me so well!” (laughs). Everyone who knows me knows I’m constantly drinking or eating, albeit, a little bit healthier than Harper. I loved that about her because we don’t see that too often and junk food is such a statement of how she lives and doesn’t take care of herself as well.
This isn’t your first time working with the folks over at Blumhouse having done the 2019 film, Ma. What was it like working with them again for SACRED LIES?
Juliette Lewis: You look for repeat collaborations when you can find them. The fact that Blumhouse came my way again was exciting. Raelle Tucker was really the new collaboration and we loved working with each other. I hope this is a habit and I hope I’ll do other things in the future with them.
Harper ends up working closely with Elsie, played by Jordan Alexander. What was that experience like?
Juliette Lewis: She is such a dynamo of talent – she’s an actress, she’s a singer, she sings the key song in the show. She was just all wide-eyed and just ready to do the work. She has so much enthusiasm and was just a joy to be around. She’s really all of those things, she’s such a grounded, good person.
The series dives into some heavy themes such as cold cases pertaining to missing women as well as the foster care system. What are you hoping people take away from this series?
Juliette Lewis: The message that Raelle wants, and you get it in the end, is that people need connection. Sometimes we don’t have it in our own families but you can find and create relationships. There is a great line at the end of the series that I’m going to butcher but it was something to the effect of “here is your chosen families.” Raelle really gets into that theme. It’s a really sweet piece for as dark and emotional as it is, you feel good by the end. You feel glad that you took this journey with everybody. I’m not opposed to certain art forms that sort of leave you decimated and full of questions but that’s not this.
For more on SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES, check out our review here.