Joan Allen and Jennifer Jason Leigh discuss whether 'Lisey's Story' was an intense set (exclusive)

·Contributor
·3-min read

Watch: Jennifer Jason Leigh and Joan Allen on making Lisey's Story

Lisey's Story is an intense psychological thriller series from the mind of Stephen King, but the stars say the atmosphere on set was exactly the opposite of what you see on screen.

"It was quite relaxed when the cameras were switched off," Jennifer Jason Leigh tells Yahoo Entertainment UK. 

Read more: Lisey's Story producer JJ Abrams discusses his fear of Stephen King fans

The Hateful Eight star plays Darla in the show, who finds herself caught between the grief of sister Lisey (Julianne Moore) and the mental health struggles of her other sibling Amanda (Joan Allen).

She credits director Pablo Larraín — whose next project is a Princess Diana biopic starring Kristen Stewart — and Moore with helping to nurture a creative atmosphere on the set.

"Pablo creates this very warm, very gentle environment," says Leigh. "Julie also is someone that has capacity for joy unlike anyone you've probably ever met in your life."

Joan Allen and Jennifer Jason Leigh portray siblings in Stephen King adaptation 'Lisey's Story'. (Apple TV+)
Joan Allen and Jennifer Jason Leigh portray siblings in Stephen King adaptation 'Lisey's Story'. (Apple TV+)

She adds: "She is just this bright, bright spot and it is effortless for her to be happy. She just spreads it. It's incredible to work with her. 

"When you have that and you have Joan and all these great people, going to work is just a pleasure and that makes playing these heavy, heavy scenes much easier. 

"You're much more willing to go there because you know you have people that care and are in your corner and making it as good and as fun as it can possibly be."

Read more: Jennifer Jason Leigh recounts Hateful Eight guitar heartbreak

Lisey's Story follows Moore's character as she attempts to process her grief at the death of her novelist husband (Clive Owen), while reckoning with resurfaced memories about him and a crazed fan (Dane DeHaan) attempting to get hold of unpublished manuscripts.

Joan Allen says she enjoyed working with Julianne Moore on 'Lisey's Story'. (Apple TV+)
Joan Allen says she enjoyed working with Julianne Moore on 'Lisey's Story'. (Apple TV+)

For Allen, the project offered an opportunity to work with two actors she admires.

She says: "I had met Julie and Jennifer before but only briefly and so we jumped in pretty fast, but I just had faith. They are such marvellous actresses and I just felt a trust. 

"We seemed to have a similar sensibility in the things we'd been in in the past. I felt very simpatico with them and I trusted that."

Read more: Carey Mulligan slams beauty standards for female characters

Leigh adds that it's rare for such a high-profile project to offer three complex roles for women at its centre.

"It really is about in so many ways the dynamic between these three women and the small rivalries, the jealousies, all of those things that go into all these sibling dynamics and also the love that's so intense and that bond you can't break because you are family," she says. 

Julianne Moore plays the lead role in 'Lisey's Story'. (Apple TV+)
Julianne Moore plays the lead role in 'Lisey's Story'. (Apple TV+)

"It was just a beautiful exploration of that and coming to terms with it. Their acceptance of each other and their need for each other and that development."

The eight-part series is directed entirely by Larraín, with King adapting his own novel for the screen.

Read more: King says Oscars are rigged in favour of white people

King's novel was published in 2006, having been written in the aftermath of the road accident which left him seriously ill in 1999. 

Executive producer JJ Abrams says: "He was, I think, thinking about what a burden that might be on his wife Tabitha at the time. There's a lot of personal stuff that was in that story."

Lisey's Story premieres globally on 4 June, exclusively on Apple TV+.

Watch: Trailer for Lisey's Story