Naomi Watts and Mia Farrow say that the secret of the Guardian was even kept from them |  CBC News

Naomi Watts and Mia Farrow say that the secret of the Guardian was even kept from them | CBC News

It was a perfect story for its time, seemingly made for an exploding obsession with true crime, horror and class politics.

Reeves Wiedeman’s New York Magazine 2018 article “The Watcher” brought all these elements together to tell a story equal parts ghost story and psychological thriller—the only difference being that it was real.

That is as real as an unsolved mystery can be. The story, which has now been turned into the latest series on Netflix, documented the Broaddus (renamed Brannock for the show) moving into a home in New Jersey. Soon after, they begin receiving threatening letters from a sender who identified himself only as an “observer”—a neighbor seemingly enraged by wealthy out-of-towners who have taken the historic home from the locals.

The sender, who referred to the home as “my family’s subject for decades,” even went so far as to reference — and spy on — Broaddus’ young children.

“Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I asked you for? Better for me,” the guard wrote in one of their letters.

“Was your old house too small for a growing family? Or was it greed to bring me your children? Once I know their names, I’ll call them and draw them too.”

Bobby Cannavale appears as Dean Brannock in episode 101 of The Watcher. (Eric Liebowitz/Netflix)

Now creator Ryan Murphy – fresh off the success of a controversial serial killer biopic Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story – turns his gaze to the house at 657 Boulevard, another strange and disturbing series of crimes. And this time he’s working with a fairly stellar cast: Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale play Maria and Derek, an unhappy couple who move in.

Elsewhere, Jennifer Coolidge appears as a real estate agent who has some role to play in the real story, while Mia Farrow and Margo Martindale play over-involved and vaguely menacing neighbors who flit in and out of a real… list of life suspects that weren’t never resolved.

It was these two things—Murphy’s involvement and the underlying theme of anonymous terror—that drew them to the project, according to most actors.

“It was a new story for me,” Watts said in an interview with CBC. “And I just imagined myself in the same shoes as that family, in the situation where they finally managed to get their dream home in their hands. And the fear that it won’t turn out well – but I don’t want to give it up brown.” same time.”

Meanwhile, for Coolidge — a seasoned comedian fresh off her first Emmy win for her work White lotus — there were other motives. First, she said she wanted to work with Murphy since he used her home in New Orleans to film scenes from american horror story ten years ago.

WATCH | Jennifer Coolidge starred in The Watcher to add “variety” to a comedy career:

Jennifer Coolidge starred in The Watcher to add “variety” to a comedy career

Jennifer Coolidge told CBC News that despite her recent Emmy win, she used the opportunity to star in the thriller series The Watcher to break out of the comedy box.

But at the same time, she said the opportunity to work on something with a more sinister undertone influenced her choice. (Though Watts shared the hardest part of working with Coolidge is still “keeping a straight face.”)

“We always want to change,” Coolidge said. “I think every actor wants to get out of the way they’ve been seen before, they always want to improve themselves somehow. But for a lot of time, for a lot of my career… I don’t know if there’s been that much.” variation.”

WATCH | Naomi Watts’ biggest problem with Jennifer Coolidge? “Keeping a straight face”:

Naomi Watts’ biggest problem with Jennifer Coolidge? ‘Keeping a straight face’

Although the show is based on a family terrorized by an unknown letter writer, Naomi Watts says the hardest part of working alongside Jennifer Coolidge wasn’t “laughing”. [her] avert.’

Unknown culprit

Four years later, the case remains unsolved, despite recent updates such as the Broaddus selling their house for a loss, the police being heavily criticized for not doing enough to investigate the case – and several revelations that may represent spoilers. series. This gave the show both obstacles and opportunities.

First, since the actual observer is still unknown, the decision about which of the characters to choose for the role was similarly up in the air—even the casting.

“You don’t know because we got one script at a time. So we weren’t sure where it was going and it was just so much fun to play,” Farrow said, explaining that it led them to speculate whether their character scene partners were observers – or even their own.

“We were all like, ‘What? What’s going on? What’s going on? Is that you? I was—I figured it had to be Margo.’

“And I was sure it was me,” Martindale said.

WATCH | Netflix’s The Watcher has kept the villain’s identity a secret — even from the cast:

Netflix’s The Watcher has kept the villain’s identity a secret — even from the cast

The Watcher stars Margo Martindale and Mia Farrow talk about how the show’s closely guarded secret left them wondering if their characters were secretly ‘watchers’.

Resentment, speculation surround the true story

Elsewhere, it led to a considerable amount of artistic license, including the fictional character Theodora Birch, played by British actress Noma Dumezweni. The role will feature a female private investigator with terminal cancer who throws herself into the mystery surrounding the home.

While Dumezweni said she loves the freedom to simply “play in this world” and build a character from Murphy’s designs and her own instincts, they pose a threat to both. Guardian‘s legitimacy, and Broadduses.

Even after selling their house, the family decided to stay in the same town of Westfield — where a number of residents apparently fed up with the attention it generated, and the supposed windfall neighbors think they’ve gained by selling their rights to the story.

According to the update posted Wiedeman earlier this weekThe Broaddus agreed to the series only on the condition that the show change their name, change the makeup of their family (changing the real family’s three children to two on-screen)—and with the remark that they “wouldn’t mind if the fictional house burned to the ground.”

They also stated that they would not be watching the show themselves.

At the time of writing, the fate of the house and whether the fictitious watcher is revealed is still a mystery: in keeping with the show’s secrecy, journalists were only allowed to watch the pilot episode instead of the full series as usual. This provided only a glimpse of what is certainly a compelling mystery, albeit with enough added to risk over-dramatization – even if it’s more fun than the truth.

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