‘Under the Bridge’ Showrunners Turned to Reena Virk’s Father for the Hulu Series | Video

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Hulu true-crime series “Under the Bridge” is based on the book by Rebecca Godfrey about the real-life 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk, but showrunners Quinn Shephard and Samir Mehta also drew from the memoir of Reena’s father, Manjit Virk to help them get a better picture of Reena.

Mehta, whose previous credits include “The Sinner” and “Fear the Walking Dead,” told TheWrap, “We optioned his book and spoke with him as well, to get some of his personal stories. He was very open with us.”

Added Mehta, “The media covered the case with such a sensationalized lens. Because we wanted to center Reena in this show, it was largely about me asking questions, like, ‘Tell me about a childhood memory of hers.’ And just attempting to know what it felt like to just be in the Virk house, which is something you don’t really see in any of the coverage anywhere else.”

Series creator Quinn Shephard worked for nearly three years on the adaptation with Godfrey, who died of lung cancer in October 2022. The young journalist is played in the series by “Daisy Jones & the Six” star Riley Keough, a casting call made by Godfrey herself.

Whose idea was it to make Rebecca a character in the story?

Quinn Shephard: I actually met her after I had the idea to make her a character. I had read a lot of interviews with her and I found her to be such a fascinating person, specifically the way that she was able to kind of seamlessly integrate herself into the worlds of the teenagers who were involved in this.

Making the writing of Rebecca’s book part of the show, and making her a character really allowed us to both explore her book, but also zoom out from it as the only definitive account of the crime.

You also drew on Manjit Virk’s book, “Reena: A Father’s Story.”

QS: The way that we approached the show, there was a large piece of the show that was an adaptation of Rebecca’s book, but it was also aiming to be more [of a] bird’s-eye [view] than that. And to see how her own perspective was one piece of the story, but Manjit Virk’s book has a lot of stories that aren’t in “Under the Bridge.”And we went through the case files, the police interrogations, the court transcripts, and we really tried to remove as much personal perspective from it as we could and just really tell the whole ensemble story.

Samir Mehta: It’s especially apparent when you [see] the same event told from two different perspectives. And suddenly, you see things are not as true and as absolute as they might seem.

Why do you think the girls at the Seven Oaks foster home took to Rebecca so quickly?

QS: I think because she was in her 20s, at the time, when she started writing the book, and she was like a cool New York party girl novelist. They just were really charmed by her. And they were like, “Oh, nice handbag. Let’s hang out.” She would pick them up in her beat-up car and they’d drive to the mall. I found that to be so fascinating and I really wanted to make that a part of the story.

I think she was really gung-ho, because she herself was like, “Oh, I would love to see a story told about a character like that, like a young, scrappy writer who just sort of immerses herself and throws herself into such a huge endeavor who isn’t really even a journalist or necessarily like ready to tell a crime story, but it just finds her.”

And Rebecca personally approved of the casting of Riley Keough and Lily Gladstone?

QS: Yeah. Rebecca passed away a few weeks before we started shooting the pilot, but she was super creatively involved in the years before. She was very excited that it was Riley who was playing her and she was actually the one who pitched Lily Gladstone because her friend had worked on “Killers of the Flower Moon” and was like, ‘There’s this actress you have to see,” and I don’t think can we could have ended up with a better actress.

Did you spend a lot of time in Victoria yourself?

SM: We actually shot in Vancouver, and the first week we landed, we went to Victoria, went to all of the real places. So we spent a bit of time there, but we shot the show in Vancouver, right nearby

QS: Yeah, I remember the first time we went to the bridge, into the school and everything and kind of traced all the steps that everyone had walked that night. It was quite emotional for everyone.

The first two episodes of “Under the Bridge” are now streaming on Hulu. New episodes arrive each Wednesday through May 29.

The post ‘Under the Bridge’ Showrunners Turned to Reena Virk’s Father for the Hulu Series | Video appeared first on TheWrap.