The Lie is a thriller that starts off in familiar territory – two teenage girls engaged in typical frenemy banter and a divorced couple awkwardly navigating co-parenting. It soon spirals out into a devastating series of bad decisions and even worse behaviour with tragic consequences.
Working together, Amazon Prime Video and Blumhouse have launched Welcome to the Blumhouse, a collection of spine-chilling thrillers developed and produced with an eye towards original, genre storytelling. The Lie is one of the first four films being released in October.
Ahead of its debut, we spoke to stars Joey King and Peter Sarsgaard about the bone-chillingly realistic story, how far a parent would go to protect their child, and reckless teenage angst. Don't worry, there are no spoilers here!
For King, it was "super-interesting" to play a character like Kayla, who seemingly has no understanding about consequences to her actions. "I'm the type of person where I'm so different from Kayla, where, with every little thing I think about who it would impact and what's going to happen if something goes wrong.
"So playing a character who has that lack of awareness, and is just like, 'What do I want to do in the moment? What do I want to do in the moment?' and not thinking about anything else ahead – it can become such an innocent mentality.
"But with this crazy story, and if you get wrapped up with the wrong people, it can become so sinister." The sinister story is not just Kayla's fault, though, it's also that of her parents.
"The whole thing that's driving [my character Jay] is some sense that I am the root cause of all the evil in this family," he told us. "If my daughter ended up as a prostitute or a drug addict or a killer or whatever, it would be my fault, and I would have to protect her, and suffer with her."
As for parents in general, Sarsgaard doesn't think it's beyond the realm of possibility to go as far as the characters in The Lie do. "If they have that much guilt and they feel like… you know, if they're a parent that, in the extreme, was an abusive parent, or a parent that had an addiction, or was… whatever your own issue was – if you know how it affected your child, and then your children went and did something illegal, I think that you would be motivated to protect them, because you would think that you were the cause of it, ultimately.
"If you were – I mean, I feel like I've been a pretty decent parent. I think it's something that I'm pretty good at. I wouldn't be motivated to do all of that," he said with a laugh, "but I couldn't imagine my kid doing something like that.
"So I would just say… I would talk to her. You know what I mean? I wouldn't assume anything. That's one of the things – there's such a lack of communication, which highlights how dysfunctional this relationship is."
The dysfunction at the root of the film is made clearest in Kayla's flawed decision making. King said: "I feel so much empathy for my character, Kayla, because I feel like she has such little sense of self. And she relies heavily on the people that she requests, like her best friend, to make these big decisions or form opinions for her.
"So being wrapped up in something so sinister is something that I feel, you know, she couldn't really avoid because her mentality is so small, and she has this immaturity, you know?"
The Lie is a remake of a German film, and the US version was directed by Veena Sud, perhaps best known for her work on The Killing – where she worked with The Lie stars Mireille Enos and Sarsgaard.
"One of the things I liked about [The Lie] – I obviously was really drawn to doing the movie because I had worked with Veena on The Killing and had had such a great experience, you know, and with Mireille.
"It's not what you anticipate coming out of Veena if you meet her. But neither is The Killing. Somebody was just asking me about, you know, working with a woman of colour and different perspectives in filmmaking and stuff like that.
"And I was like, yeah, it's great, you know, and I have worked with all different kinds of people – people of colour, women – and I do value different perspectives. But it's not like the perspective you would expect [of Sud]. It's not like, 'Oh, when we work with, you know, a woman, we get something that's soft and gentle, and when we work with men, we get something that's hard and violent.'
"One of the things that I like is that people surprise you, no matter who they are. No matter what they seem like on the surface, what's going to actually come out and what you're going to get in the end, is as unexpected as meeting a new person on the street."
The Lie will be available on Amazon Prime Video from October 6.
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