Truth Hurts: Juliette Lewis Gets On Ryan Phillippe’s Case In ABC’s “Secrets And Lies”

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07 March 2015

ABC, March 8, 9:00 PM ET

By Lori Acken

If you’re tempted to dismiss ABC’s Sunday night drama “Secrets and Lies” as yet another “Broadchurch” knockoff, consider this: “Secrets’” tale unspools solely from the perspective of Ryan Phillippe’s Ben Crawford, a suburban family man suspected of killing his neighbor’s son. Which means Phillippe is in virtually every scene.

It’s madness, Phillippe and the show’s co-executive producer/director Timothy Busfield agree — but there is very much method to it.

“The lines between what Ben is going through and what Ryan is going through would cross, but I liked that. I couldn’t wait for him to get tired!” Busfield grins of “Secrets’” arduous shoot.

“Whenever he was pissed off, I’d say ‘Roll camera!’ — because that was Ben. I’ve never seen anybody on any show I’ve ever been on do that much work, and it bleeds through to his performance. It’s really good!”

“I felt very much in the throes of the material,” agrees Phillippe of living in the skin of the beleaguered Crawford, who is trailed by steely Detective Andrea Cornell (a chilly Juliette Lewis) as he tries to clear his name in a depleting journey that shatters his small town’s bucolic veneer.

“As my personal exhaustion translates into the fatigue Ben would be experiencing, you see that physical degradation over the 10 episodes.”

Phillippe adds that being a devoted father himself helped him shade Crawford’s fraying psyche as his two daughters cool toward their dad as suspicions mount. “One of the elements that drew me to the project is this idea of the way this situation affects his children and changes how they look at him,” Phillippe says. “It strikes to your core as a parent — the idea of your kids being afraid of you. I have a very emotional response to that idea.”
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