‘Presumed Innocent’ Cast Didn’t Know Who the Murderer Was Until Filming the Last Episode | Video

Jake Gyllenhaal’s character is accused of murdering his lover in “Presumed Innocent,” but audiences will be kept guessing who the real murderer is until the very last episode — just as the cast was when they filmed the Apple TV+ limited series.

Ahead of the two-episode premiere, TheWrap spoke with Gyllenhaal, as well as costar Peter Sarsgaard (who plays a rival prosecutor) and executive producer David E. Kelley about what it was like keeping the actors in the dark.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Gyllenhaal, who takes over the role of Rusty Sabich from Harrison Ford in the 1990 film. “We would learn in the same way the audience learned what was gonna happen, which I’ve never experienced in any creative experience before.”

In the series, which is based on the Scott Turow novel of the same name, attorney Carolyn Polhemus (Renate Reinsve), is found brutally murdered in her house and, naturally, Rusty’s fingerprints are everywhere. Rusty (who is married to Barbra, played by Ruth Negga) is eventually charged with her murder, with Sarsgaard’s character eager to prove his guilt.

“Early in the writing process, I hadn’t quite decided myself,” said Kelley of who the killer would be. “We were exploring different opportunities with different characters. But yeah, it’s tough to keep secrets in this day and age. So if you don’t need to reveal twists and turns, we choose not to,” said Kelley.

“At a certain point, everybody wasn’t sure if it was them [who killed Carolyn],” said Gyllenhaal.

“I was like, it can’t be me,” said Sarsgaard. “I think everyone in it was like that, like even the children were making the case for why it surely couldn’t be them.”

O-T Fagbenle and Peter Sarsgaard in "Presumed Innocent"
O-T Fagbenle and Peter Sarsgaard in “Presumed Innocent” (CREDIT: Apple TV+)

Kelley used the same approach on the first season of “Big Little Lies,” keeping the big reveal until they were “deep into shooting.” However, they didn’t go so far as to shoot multiple endings. “We thought about that. That was a possibility. But, we were pretty settled on the ending we wanted and we went full bore,” said Kelley.

“When I started, there was a certain deference and respect that you just didn’t give away endings. I mean, I remember I had a shocking ending on ‘LA Law’.’ It was shot three or four months before it aired and the secret never got out,” recalled the producer of his hit legal show that ran from 1986 to 1994.

“Today, that’s almost impossible, because the trades will let it leak out in a business way, if not a creative way, like ‘so and so is available to do another series.’ And the audience is savvy, they can do the math,” said Kelley.

The first two episodes of “Presumed Innocent” debut on Apple TV+ on Wednesday, with new episodes dropping on following Wednesdays through July 24.

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