Re the critics. You’re right. They need to change that. I’m feeling a bit cynical about these critics. I can’t help feeling some of the early ones got caught out misjudging the programme and also misjudging audience reaction. I bet a lot of them would write a different review now.
Re Michelle Dockery. Nice interview. Fellow Brits will join me in recognising that her accent has got a touch of the Essex girl about it. Albeit a well educated one! 🤣
There can be a bandwagon-ing affect with reviewers (good and bad) but it's also a matter of when critics and RT add reviews. Some of the later reviews added for DJ were written weeks ago. Some still haven't been added.
It's more haphazard and slower for TV than film (even more than independent films which don't get the reviews added that blockbusters do. Example: TIMEs review was never added for Gifted.)
EXCLUSIVE | 'Defending Jacob' star Pablo Schreiber says fans should 'expect the unexpected' in final episodes of crime drama
Ahead of the seventh episode of the stirring series, MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) caught up with Schreiber in an exclusive interview
By Aharon Abhishek May 21, 2020
'Defending Jacob' currently has a staggering audience approval rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. The crime drama is also on the list of most-watched content since April 24, it's debut date. There are still two episodes left of the gripping Apple TV+ show, and the ratings can only hit the stratosphere over the next two weeks. But this doesn't come as a surprise to Pablo Schreiber.
"It's not a surprise, the 42-year-old says confidently. And he's quick to credit the streaming network. "Apple TV has been doing a really superb job of bringing great content, and I think people are paying attention to what they're offering. And so it wasn't a surprise to me that it's on the list of most-watched."
Ahead of the seventh episode of the stirring series, MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) caught up with Schreiber in an exclusive interview and as we delve deeper into discussing 'Defending Jacob', there's a sense of pride that's hard to miss.
The crime drama series starring some prominent names in the industry is a classic whodunnit based on William Landay's novel of the same name. Chris Evans is Andrew Barber, a Massachusetts assistant district attorney, living with his wife Laurie (Michelle Dockery) and 14-year-old son, Jacob (Jaeden Martell). Things take a bad turn for the family when Jacob is accused of a murder.
"I was sent all eight scripts," he recounts. "And the experience I had reading them was pretty earth-shattering. Mark Bomback is the writer and he created such a beautiful piece of art. The episodes were in such great shape and so complete and compelling," he added. "The journey that I went on in reading them...I was just really taken away. The level of the people they had, obviously acting in it already was superb. And it just seemed like a no-brainer to get involved."
Schreiber plays Neal Logiudice, a prosecutor on the series. And it was the first time he played the part. "In preparing for the role, I read the novel, obviously, to get a sense of what the character's function in the novel was. I realized pretty quickly that the character in the novel was quite different from the character in the series. So I let the novel go as a piece of research, and focus instead on preparing the character that was written in the series," he explained.
"I just went ahead on getting up to speed as to what makes a good prosecutor? What's an effective prosecutor? What are the tactics that are used at their disposal? Obviously, I don't have enough time to learn how to go through law school, but get a real basic sense of how a prosecutor does their jobs, what is within the bounds—morally and legally in terms of tactic?
It is easy to dub his character as an antagonist. While all the time, he is just doing his job, and an awfully thorough one at it. I've had this experience in my career of playing the antagonist and having the audience hate you. I played a couple of characters that you would describe as characters that the audience loves to hate," he opined.
"I'm curious about what creates this...why we're looked at as antagonists or why we are disliked as a character. And I thought this was a really interesting examination or experiment because really, ultimately Neal is only the antagonist because he's the person prosecuting Jacob (Martell). He's the person who's in the way of Andy. His main mission is the conviction of Jacob, which would absolutely destroy him, and he was our protagonist."
Schreiber continued: And so through the lens of the protagonist, obviously the things that he does come off as bad, and they piss us off because they're making life difficult for Andy. But in reality, Neal is only behaving as an effective prosecutor. He's doing his job in being a good prosecutor, and going as hard as he can for the conviction of the person who he believes is guilty of the crime."
"As an audience, watching this happen is painful and it's frustrating. We dislike the character because he's getting in the way of our protagonist, but through the lens of Neal, he's not doing anything wrong. And ultimately in episode eight, when we realize why he's doing what he's doing in the Supreme court hearing that's been happening throughout the season, we should be left questioning why we hated him so much." The Andy vs Neal confrontation
"It serves a very specific purpose," Schreiber remarked. "He's hitting Andy where he's the weakest, and he knows Andy has been questioning this idea of his father as a murderer and whether this will come up in the trial. He knows that this is a concern of Andy's. And so he brings it up in order to get a rise out of Andy, hoping that he will do exactly what he does. And when he does, he ended up using this against him in court."
"Again, it's an example of having a good prosecutor doing his job. It doesn't win any style points. It doesn't make us like him anymore. But in the context of being a prosecutor and trying to convict the person who you firmly believe committed the crime. It's very consistent in doing your job well.
Our conversation next was about what to look forward to as the penultimate episode draws closer. "Expect the unexpected," comes as a quick reply. "Don't get comfortable," he added. Schreiber watched the series in one go as opposed to the world who waits for an episode every week. "I knew what happened, but as I was watching it, I don't feel like I comfortably could have said whether or not, Jacob had actually committed the crime. And I don't think I could have said comfortably who did either," he said.
"I think as an audience, you probably aren't feeling comfortable about either of those things. And I don't think you should expect to feel comfortable in the last two episodes. I think you should expect to have your expectations completely upturned."
Schreiber was generous in his praise for his co-stars. "It was fantastic," he says when asked about working alongside Evans, Martell, and Dockery. "Most of my work was with Chris and I believe he's done really phenomenal work in this series," he praised. "He's such a comfortable and compelling presence in this, that he really fills the role of, of the gravitational center of this series."
"You want to follow him, you want to know what's going to happen to his character. And I was really proud of the work that he did and blown away by it."
"Jaeden Martell does such a phenomenal job as Jacob in really doing very little, and letting our expectations of him constantly shift. He has such an open face that's open to so much interpretation. He can come off as completely innocent one moment, and terribly menacing the next without doing almost anything, which is such amazing quality," the actor felt.
"A lot of my work was with Cherry Jones, who I respect so much as an actress. She's such a classic theater actress that I've watched since I had moved to New York and started doing theater. To to get to do those courtroom scenes with her was an incredible honor actually."
Schreiber will be seen in Showtime's 'Halo' next. Currently, the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has paused the filming of the first season.
TV Insider: 'Defending Jacob's Cherry Jones Breaks Down That Courtroom Drama & Teases Twisty Finale Meaghan Darwish • May 22, 2020 2:00 pm
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 1, Episode 7 of Defending Jacob, "Job."]
Apple TV+'s riveting limited drama series Defending Jacob continues to deliver twists and turns with each passing installment, and its latest episode is no exception as the titular teenager's case went to court in "Job."
After being accused of murdering his classmate Ben Rifkin (Liam Kilbreth), doubts about Jacob Barber's (Jaeden Martell) innocence mounted when Newton's acting ADA Neal Loguidice (Pablo Schreiber) threw a wrench in his defense's strategy. The team, which includes his protective father Andy (Chris Evans) and attorney Joanna Klein (Cherry Jones), is blindsided by some evidence previously undisclosed to them that threatens to topple their carefully crafted plans to clear the young man's name.
Could some graphic literature, penned by the teen, that fantasizes about killing, be the last nail in his slowly-sealing coffin? Some brief developments in the episode's final moments hint at a twist to come, ahead of what's sure to be an insane finale. Below, we catch up with Jones (Transparent, The Handmaid's Tale), who breaks down the theatrics of Jacob's courtroom trial, collaborating with costars Evans and Michelle Dockery and teasing the May 29 finale.
This was quite the episode. What was it like getting to delve into these theatrical court scenes?
Cherry Jones: I was so excited when I realized that it really is like a theater. You've got this big, wide reverberating space, so your voice sounds good. You've got your audience.
You're performing for everyone in that room, but of course, specifically for that jury. Just building it so that everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Every time Joanna would stand up, she already knows the answer to all the questions she's asking. She's pretty much in control until that Loguidice throws her a wrench. It was really, really fun.
And that jury, they were amazing. They never fell asleep. They never wandered. They were unbelievable, those actors in that jury. I came away feeling like they were friends. I can't wait to see their faces again [when I watch the episode]. My favorite audience of all time, those 12 people who were sitting there for days and days and days.
How many days did it take to film the trial sequences?
I honestly don't remember, but it was a solid week, I'm sure, because [director] Morten [Tyldum] does a million different angles. I remember at one point we were in the psychiatrist's office, and he had shot from this direction and that direction. Then finally it was the end of the day, and Morten set the camera up way up at the very top of the wall and the ceiling. Chris said, 'Morten, what is that? The security camera shot? What are you doing?' Morten finally said, 'You're right. Forget it.' [Laughs]
But it was such a great, fun group to be with. It's so fascinating to work on something and to be there when it's being shot, and then to see what they do with it in terms of the score, and where they cut it because I do still feel like an amateur with television and film. I'm always so wide-eyed when I see things after it's out.
Is Joanna the kind of lawyer that believes everything she's saying in this case? Is she as convinced of Jacob's innocence as she claims to be?
[She doesn't] know whether he is or isn't [guilty], but I talked to Mark [Bomback] and Morten about people who must know that their client is guilty, and yet they still have to defend and come up with all these different things that point to [innocence], and what that must be like to live with. They said, 'That's the justice system. If you do not have a defense attorney, whether the person is guilty or innocent, there is no justice in the land. You've got to have good defense attorneys.' So, I just took that note and ran with it. [Joanna's] only job is to make sure that child is free at the end of the day.
Andy gets involved with the defense strategy as part of the family's wish, which was mentioned by Joanna to the judge. Was it a good idea for him to get involved?
I don't think she would have wanted [him] to do that. It complicates the telling of the story somehow, I think, from a defense attorney's point of view when you have someone who did work in the government. It muddies the water for the jury a little bit. I would think that Joanna Klein would think it was not wise. But she understands why he wants to do it, and they're her clients, and that's their wishes.
What drew you to this show? What jumped out to you when first introduced to the title?
Well, when I heard it was Chris, who everyone adores... I talked to friends who'd worked with him, and everyone loves him. And I was so intrigued to get to work with Michelle, who I adored. But the script itself... I'm a very slow reader, but I was just flying through it because you want to know what happens.
When I was a child, my mother would always tell my sister, Susan, and I, that there was nothing we could do that would keep them from loving us, that their love was unconditional. So as a child, I would always try to come up with horrible things [to say]. Then finally I said, 'What if I murdered someone?' I remember my mother saying, 'Well, we'll be heartbroken, but we will love you unconditionally.' That's this story, except the parents don't know whether the child did or did not.
It's excruciating to watch that family go through all that multilayered pain, and just when they'll try to get their spirits up, there will be a reminder of the family that is mourning the loss of [Ben]. Then you watch them deflate again. There are so many moments that just catch your breath. How would we react if it were a loved one of ours, where you absolutely have to believe in them and support them? If you have doubts, then you're in agony.
The ending serves up a great cliffhanger for viewers, as child sex offender Leonard Patz (Daniel Henshall) appears to be writing a confession letter. What can you tease about the finale?
Well, I do know that it's deceptive. There are going to be more twists and turns. It's not going to be just all of them going out for ice cream and resuming their lives happily. There's got to be a few more twists, [otherwise] it was too easy.
You’ve worked on so many different projects, what was the best part about collaborating with this set of actors?
Working with all three of them, and poor Jaeden didn't get to come to some of the parties because he's underage. But Chris was a very generous host, and had several parties in the course of the spring and summer, and into the fall because it went a while. You just couldn't wait for another Chris party!
Best known as Captain America, the Boston native reflects on the panic attacks that almost led him to abandon acting, repeatedly turning down Marvel before reconsidering and following eight years in the MCU with an Apple TV+ limited series.
Credits: Hosted by Scott Feinberg and produced by Matthew Whitehurst.