‘Defending Jacob’: Chris Evans’ Apple TV+ Crime Drama Gets Emmy-Qualifying Premiere Date
Based on the 2012 bestselling novel by William Landay, Evans and Michelle Dockery star as parents whose 14-year-old son is accused of murder.
With the Emmy eligibility period ending on May 31, 2020, expect a cavalcade of prestige TV to debut this spring. At the 2020 TCA Winter Press Tour on Sunday in Pasadena, CA, Apple TV+ threw a contender in the ring for limited drama series by announcing the first three episodes of its starry crime show “Defending Jacob” will premiere on April 24.
Starring Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell, Cherry Jones, and Pablo Schreiber, “Defending Jacob” is based on the 2012 bestselling crime novel by William Landay. Evans and Dockery play the parents of a 14-year-old boy (Martell) who is accused of murdering a classmate in a small Massachusetts town.
First optioned for a movie in 2012, showrunner Mark Bomback opted to turn the story into a limited series after seeing how the genre has developed into a outlet for incisive storytelling in the era of Peak TV. “Twenty or 30 years ago, this would have been a movie in a multiplex,” he said. “But this is better served in the limited series space because there are elements that would have gotten short shrift in a film.”
Director Morten Tyldum agreed that the limited series format gives the opportunity for moments between characters that allows the story to breathe. “What’s the history of this family?” he asked. “Where are they coming from? I have a 12-year-old and I will always look at him in the best light possible. One of the things that attracted us all to the series is ‘How far would you go in defending yourself to the world?’ What’s the strongest bond, what’s the strongest loyalty? That’s so good to play with.”
The project is a reunion for Evans and Martell, who starred together in “Knives Out.” “We were doing ‘Knives Out’ together in Boston and I was auditioning for this, and [Chris] came up to me and said: ‘Are we doing this? Are you going to be my son?'” Martell said.
Sure enough, Evans wound up filming “Knives Out” and “Defending Jacob” back-to-back. “I can be capricious at times, I take my time,” Evans said. “But I kind of kept coming back to it — it was one of those projects that kind of stick in your head. The meetings with Morten and Mark were just so fantastic. I just sort of felt that I had to do it.”
“Defending Jacob” is produced by Paramount Television Studios and Anonymous Content, with Bomback as the creator and executive producer. Evans is an executive producer alongside Rosalie Swedlin and Adam Shulman for Anonymous Content. The series is executive produced as well by Tyldum, who was Academy Award-nominated for directing 2014’s “The Imitation Game.”
After the April 24 premiere, new episodes of “Defending Jacob” will premiere every subsequent Friday for a total of eight episodes.
I love the quote in the tweets that said Parenthood unlocks a love you never know you could have. Blinding love...so so true.
It's a great quote but I think Chris already played that in Gifted. I'm not sure how Frank could have loved Mary any more if she was his biological daughter. I wish they never cut that scene out with him fighting with his mother when she tells him he doesn't know what it's like to lose a child and he says he does - Mary is his child (even though that */* Evelyn denies him that)
Filmed in Leominster and Worcester, ‘Defending Jacob’ with Chris Evans due for April premiere
Chris Evans wowed us as Captain America in “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” kept us guessing as a spoiled playboy hated by his own family in “Knives Out,” and had us howling on Super Bowl Sunday in Hyundai’s “Smaht Pahk” television spot.
And in April, he will show off another side of his acting chops, playing an assistant district attorney dealing with his teenage son being accused of murder, in “Defending Jacob.”
Besides featuring the acting talents of Evans, Michelle Dockery (of “Downton Abbey” fame playing Evans’ wife and mother of the accused) and Jaeden Martell (of “It” fame playing their son), “Defending Jacob” was shot in Worcester and Leominster, as well as other locations in Massachusetts.
Apple has announced that the eight-episode series “Defending Jacob” will premiere its first three episodes exclusively on Apple TV+ starting April 24, with new episodes premiering weekly thereafter, on Fridays.
In April, a bearded Evans was spotted on a closed set in Worcester, shooting a scene coming out of the archway of the old Come Play Products building on Suffolk Street and chilling between scenes at Vincent’s, across the street. Another scene, minus Evans, was shot the same day at 7 Ingleside Ave.
Reportedly, in June, film crews also shot scenes for “Defending Jacob” in the Richmond Avenue neighborhood of Worcester.
And Evans was spotted again in July in the Monument Square area of downtown Leominster, reportedly shooting a scene at C&M Pizza.
It has been a good run for Evans in recent years.
Best known for playing Captain America in three Captain America movies and four Avengers movies, Evans was also in the 2019 whodunit sleeper hit “Knives Out” (which has grossed $293 million worldwide to date against a $40 million budget) and the Sudbury native was also in the hilarious Boston-centric Super Bowl commercial with Lexington native Rachel Dratch, both marveling at Boston native John Krasinski’s ability to “smarht pahk” his Hyundai Sonata in a tight spot without even being in it.
“Defending Jacob” is based on the 2012 New York Times best-selling novel of the same name by William Landay.
"The movie came to life every time you were on the screen." Stan Lee to Chris Evans.