Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Is Part of a Big Mystery in The Last Thing He Told Me

Apr 14, 2023

The Last Thing He Told Me garnered attention in the literary world when it was released in May 2021. The mystery-thriller novel penned by Laura Dave skyrocketed up the charts, becoming an instant No. 1 New York Times Bestseller. That the book spent 65 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list says something about readers’ appetites for deeply layered tales that spark intrigue and provoke thought. It seemed to be a perfect fit for Apple TV+, which adapted the best-selling book into an all-star limited series that drops today, April 14.

Jennifer Garner stars and executive produces this outing alongside Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine. The result offers viewers an empowered female tale about a woman adapting to one maelstrom after another. The Last Thing He Told Me follows Hannah (played by Garner), who must carefully maneuver the already strained relationship with her 16-year-old stepdaughter Bailey (Angourie Rice) to uncover the truth about her husband’s (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) mysterious disappearance.
The adaptation stays true to Dave’s source material, adding context here and there when needed in a production with an exceptional stand-out cast. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Laura Dave, and series co-creator Josh Singer opened up about bringing the series to life with MovieWeb.

Adapting Laura Dave From Page to Screen

Curiously, The Last Thing He Told Me was going to be a movie. But when Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine — specifically, Lauren Levy Neustadter (Where the Crawdads Sing), head of film and TV — took note of it, she told Singer and Dave that it should really be a limited series.

“Laura and I took a night to think about, and I realized there was way too much to jam into a movie, and that the episodes actually broke down the book into a pretty good episodic structures,” admitted Singer. “I’ve long been a fan of Laura’s work, and what I love about this book is that it has a unique emotional wisdom, but also this driving propulsive mystery.

“In some ways, our work as writers in the writers’ room was really done for us by Laura,” he added, “and we wanted to stay true to those two primary tenants she had: capturing that emotional wisdom and maintaining that mystery throughout. That was key.”

Related: Best Apple TV+ Shows, Ranked

Dave expressed her passion about giving her original book new life in the form of a limited series. The cast also stars Aisha Tyler (Criminal Minds), America Olivo, Isaac Jay, Emily Somers, Frederick Lawrence, Alex Denney, and Kayla Fuentes.

“When I wrote the story, I really was interested in the question of, ‘Can we ever know the people we love the most?’” shared Dave. “And in the middle of the writing, I came to this idea that that answer is going to be different for each of us. But a lot about knowing someone else has to do with knowing oneself. You can only really know anyone else, as well as you know yourself. So, with both the book and the series, it was important to create this heroine who, despite the fact the world was telling her things were one way, believed them to be another way.”

By the end of the first episode, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s Own leaves a cryptic note for his wife and the ripple effects of that, and his sudden disappearance, send the plot —and, in turn, Hannah and Bailey — in motion.

“It’s a great story. I couldn’t figure it out, and I didn’t guess it,” teased Coster-Waldau. “If you boil the mystery at its core, it’s really about, ‘Who is this guy? Why did he do? Why did he just disappear? And why can’t he write longer notes?’”

On That First Meeting with Jennifer Garner

Apple TV+

Working alongside Jennifer Garner proved to be rewarding. The actress, who turned heads in Alias and has consistently delivered embraceable performances — from Camping and Mother’s Day to her recent turn in the Party Down revival.

“My first meeting with Jennifer was something I’ve never done before,” Coster-Waldau shared. “It was an intimacy session, which we were both very surprised by. We were like, ‘We don’t really need that. Why would we do that?’ But it turned out to be more like going back to drama school — a little movement, exercise, closed eyes, and such. It was perfect icebreaker.”

Related: Best Jennifer Garner Movies, Ranked

No doubt. The actors are commanding in their roles. It’s easy to buy into their couplehood, and their deep love for each other.

“At that intimacy session, we realized immediately that we had this, and we could laugh at the same things and not take ourselves too seriously,” added Coster-Waldau. “Which is very helpful because we have to establish this relationship and in a very few scenes early on. The audience has to believe they love each other. Working with Jennifer is just great. She’s fabulous.”

When asked what he felt viewers would be most captivated by in The Last Thing He Told Me, the actor said: “It has this great building engine of finding out what the hell is really going on. There’s the mystery of how Owen disappears, and the episodes are very well executed. I really do believe the ‘surprise’ for viewers is earned.

“Now, of course there are a lot of people who read the book, and they’ll know, but if you haven’t read the book, you won’t be able to guess it,” added Coster-Waldau. “There are emotions here that everybody can relate to. Love is a very powerful. It’s what motivates most of our decisions, the good ones. And sometimes the bad ones.”

Catch The Last Thing He Told Me, beginning April 14, on Apple TV+.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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