Greg Kinnear & Sepideh Moafi Interview: Black Bird | Screen Rant

Apple TV+ returns with a new high-caliber crime thriller on July 8, which marks the premiere of the first two episodes of Black Bird. Based on real events, the 6-episode limited series follows Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton, Rocketman), who must transfer to a maximum security prison and befriend a murderer in order to obtain crucial information that will keep the killer behind bars while freeing him from his remaining jail time. The beloved Ray Liotta also stars as Jimmy’s father, a decorated police officer, for what would be his last role.

While Jimmy is on the inside trying to uncover dark truths in high-stakes situations, he must rely on investigator Brian Miller (Greg Kinnear, Shining Vale) and FBI agent Lauren McCauley (Sepideh Moafi, The L Word: Generation Q) on the outside for moral and literal support. Despite the dramatic license taken in some scenes between Jimmy and suspected serial killer Larry Hall (played by Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell), Black Bird takes care to be respectful of the true story and honor the lives lost and the loved ones affected.

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Screen Rant spoke to Moafi and Kinnear about why they were drawn to a project like Black Bird, and what makes the dynamic between Jimmy and McCauley so fascinating.

Screen Rant: When I first started Black Bird, I did not realize it was a true story. By the end of it, I was googling everything, and now I have to read this book. Are either have you actively drawn to true crime stories, or what specifically drove you to this one?

Greg Kinnear: Truthfully, I’m really not. I wasn’t familiar with this story, in spite of the fact that I’m literally from a small town about 15 miles down the road from where Larry Hall lived. I was thrilled when I when I did read it, like you.

It was handed to me as a script. I didn’t go down the Google rabbit hole, I just read it and enjoyed so much the power of the storytelling, the individual characters, and how well everything was crafted in this. I felt a real responsibility – I think we all did – to try and tell it right, and to be respectful to the people who have lost children.

The collateral damage this guy did was real, so we all worked hard. And we had a Commander-in-Chief in Dennis Lehane, who is quite a storyteller.

Sepideh, when McCauley is recruiting Jimmy, do you think she feels concern or guilt about putting him in this situation? What’s that dynamic like?

Sepideh Moafi: I think in the beginning, she has definitely done years’ worth of research on this man for a completely different case, so she knows his ins and outs. She knows who he is. He’s incredibly charismatic, he is street smart, he is manipulative, and he is a shapeshifter. He will do whatever to get…

Greg Kinnear: Are you attracted to him?

Sepideh Moafi: [Laughs] Well, it’s interesting, because you’ll feel different dynamics. At certain times, you’ll feel a mother-son dynamic or a sibling dynamic. Sometimes you’ll feel underlying sexual attraction, and other times you’ll feel like they’re enemies; like they can’t stand each other. And I think that’s all part of the fact that they are unique in each other’s lives.

I think when Lauren wants an informant, or she’s interviewing somebody and interrogating somebody, she knows exactly how to push their buttons. She knows exactly how to get what she needs. But with Jimmy, she knew she’d have to take so many different tactics and approach him in a different way. Because in a way, they are similar. They are always in control of the rooms that they enter. They are always master manipulators of whatever space they’re in. Jimmy disarms McCauley, and McCauley disarms Jimmy, which is why I think there’s an exciting dynamic between these two characters.

So, in that recruitment scene, she knows him so well just from her research. But then when she gets into the room with him, she can feel. And again, I think I think she’s kind of like a chameleon, and she’s so malleable. She knows how to change herself, based on what he’s giving her.

Inspired by actual events, when high school football hero and decorated policeman’s son Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton) is sentenced to 10 years in a minimum security prison, he is given the choice of a lifetime — enter a maximum-security prison for the criminally insane and befriend suspected serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), or stay where he is and serve his full sentence with no possibility of parole.

Keene quickly realizes his only way out is to elicit a confession and find out where the bodies of several young girls are buried before Hall’s appeal goes through. But is this suspected killer telling the truth? Or is it just another tale from a serial liar? This dramatic and captivating story subverts the crime genre by enlisting the help of the very people put behind bars to solve its mysteries.

Check out our other interviews with Black Bird stars Taron Egerton and Paul Walter Hauser, as well as creator Dennis Lehane. You can also watch our previous interview with Greg Kinnear for Brian Banks.

More: Why Taron Egerton Makes The Perfect MCU Wolverine

The first two episodes of Black Bird premiere on Apple TV+ July 8.

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Author: Tatiana Hullender