Jes­sica Biel on The Sin­ner and her ‘date nights’ with Justin Tim­ber­lake

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - PA­TRICK RYAN USA To­day

Jes­sica Biel is tak­ing a stab at her most dra­matic role yet. Af­ter 11 sea­sons on The WB’s “7th Heaven” and an am­ple film ca­reer, Biel is re­turn­ing to TV as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and star of USA’s new thriller “The Sin­ner” (Wed­nes­day, 10 p.m. It will air in Canada on Show­case in the fall.), an eight-episode adap­ta­tion of Pe­tra Hammes­fahr’s best­seller.

The mys­tery cen­tres on trou­bled young mother Cora Tan­netti (Biel), who vi­o­lently kills a man, seem­ingly at ran­dom, while at the beach with her fam­ily one af­ter­noon. Fac­ing life in prison, well-mean­ing de­tec­tive Harry Am­brose (Bill Pull­man) at­tempts to un­ravel her mur­der­ous mo­ti­va­tions, only to dis­cover un­set­tling de­tails about her past that raise more ques­tions than an­swers.

Biel, 35, caught up with USA TO­DAY to chat about The Sin­ner and son Si­las, 2, with hus­band Justin Tim­ber­lake.

In what ways could you re­late to Cora, or at the very least, sym­pa­thize with her?

The thing about Cora that I hope a lot of peo­ple re­late to is that ev­ery­body strug­gles with things in their past or things about them that they’d like to change. At times, we all put on a mask to present a way you are to the world that maybe isn’t 100 per cent true.

For most of the show, Cora wears a prison jump­suit with messy hair and no makeup. Was that a re­fresh­ing change?

It’s very free­ing, be­cause you don’t have to spend a long time in the morn­ing fo­cus­ing on (your ap­pear­ance). It’s very much a part of the ex­pe­ri­ence she’s hav­ing and who she is as a char­ac­ter to not rely on those tools. To look in the mir­ror and see my­self look­ing a par­tic­u­lar way helps me even more to step into her shoes. It’s won­der­ful, ac­tu­ally. I’m lov­ing it.

You’ve pro­duced films such as The Tall Man and The Book of Love. How does your ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing be­hind the scenes on The Sin­ner com­pare?

One of my favourite things to do is work with writ­ers on char­ac­ter and di­a­logue. It’s been re­ally chal­leng­ing be­cause there’s a much dif­fer­ent de­liv­ery sched­ule for tele­vi­sion, and we have a lot of dates that we have to hit, and we are kind of driv­ing the train down the track on the fastest gear pos­si­ble, which is very in­tense. There’s a lot to do and a lot to keep up with, but I re­ally have en­joyed my ex­pe­ri­ence.

Given how busy both you and Justin are, how do the two of you jug­gle fam­ily with your re­spec­tive ca­reers?

That is an on­go­ing bal­anc­ing act that maybe you never 100 per cent master. We’re al­ways work­ing, day in and day out, to find that good balance. And Justin, I love the way he al­ways puts it. He’s like, “Yeah, you get mar­ried, but you still have to date each other. That’s re­ally im­por­tant.” I think we do a re­ally good job of, even though we’re re­ally busy, tak­ing one day a week and hav­ing a date night or tak­ing a va­ca­tion just the two of us, and then mak­ing sure we have a fam­ily thing set up. You just have to make it a pri­or­ity, re­ally, be­cause it’s easy for all of that stuff to get put on the way­side.

BROWNIE HAR­RIS, USA NET­WORK

Jes­sica Biel as Cora in "The Sin­ner."

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