While we’re still hoping for a “Big Little Lies” Season 3, the Liane Moriarty cinematic universe is expanding thanks to the upcoming Peacock series “Apples Never Fall.”
Based on Moriarty’s 2021 novel of the same name, the limited series has a stellar cast including Annette Bening, Sam Neill, Jake Lacy, and Alison Brie, and follows an elite family’s innermost secrets as they come to light.
More from IndieWire
Keep scrolling to see all the details about the Peacock series, which premieres March 14.
What’s the Plot?
Per Peacock, the mystery series centers on the Delaney family, led by former tennis coaches Stan (Neill) and Joy (Bening), who have sold their successful tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. While they look forward to spending time with their four adult children, everything changes when a wounded young woman knocks on Joy and Stan’s door, bringing the excitement they’ve been missing. But when Joy suddenly disappears, her children are forced to re-examine their parents’ so-called perfect marriage as their family’s darkest secrets begin to surface.
Alison Brie plays Amy Delaney, alongside onscreen siblings Jake Lacy as Troy Delaney, Conor Merrigan Turner as Logan Delaney, and Essie Randles as Brooke Delaney. Georgia Flood plays the mysterious guest Savannah, with Jeanine Serralles and Dylan Thuraisingham portraying detectives. The cast is rounded out by Jordon Mahar, Katrina Lenk, Timm Sharp, Nate Mann, Paula Andrea Placido, Pooja Shah, and Quentin Plair.
What Is It Based on?
“Apples Never Fall” was adapted from Moriarty’s novel, with producer David Heyman winning the rights to the story in March 2021 to develop it for television prior to the novel’s release in August 2021. Author Moriarty, who also executive produces the series, wrote the novels “Big Little Lies” and “Nine Perfect Strangers,” both of which were adapted into Emmy-nominated TV shows starring Nicole Kidman.
“Apples Never Fall” was given a straight-to-series order by Peacock in February 2022, with filming taking place in Queensland, Australia, and London, England in March 2023. Melanie Marnich (“The OA,” “The Affair”) is the writer, showrunner, and executive producer of the series, with David Heyman (“Wonka,” “Barbie”) also serving as an executive producer. The seven-episode limited series is additionally produced by author Moriarty, lead star Bening, Gregory Jacobs, Joe Hortua, Albert Page, and Jillian Share. Director Chris Sweeney executive produces; Dawn Shadforth also directs. The series is produced by Heyday Television, which is part of Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group.
Lead actress and executive producer Bening told IndieWire’s Anne Thompson while promoting Oscar-nominated film “Nyad” that “Apples Never Fal” production took place during the WGA strike.
“We were shooting in the middle of the writers’ strike,” she said. “We kept shooting because our beloved showrunner could continue to produce but she couldn’t be on the set with us. And then of course, we had to stop when the actors went out. So we’re about to go back to Australia and finish.”
How Will the Series Differ from the Novel?
The description of Moriarty’s novel skews a little differently from the official Peacock series synopsis. Per Moriarty and Macmillan Publishers, “Apples Never Fall” hinges on patriarch Stan Delaney (Neill) being the key suspect in the presumed murder of his wife (Bening).
The description reads: “The Delaney family love one another dearly — it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other…If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father? This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings. The Delaneys are fixtures in their community. The parents, Stan and Joy, are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killers on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are Stan and Joy so miserable?”
The description continues: “The four Delaney children — Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke — were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups and there is the wonderful possibility of grandchildren on the horizon. One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door, bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. The Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted. Later, when Joy goes missing, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the one person who remains: Stan. But for someone who claims to be innocent, he, like many spouses, seems to have a lot to hide. Two of the Delaney children think their father is innocent, two are not so sure—but as the two sides square off against each other in perhaps their biggest match ever, all of the Delaneys will start to reexamine their shared family history in a very new light.”
What’s Next for the Liane Moriarty Cinematic Universe?
Rumblings of a third season of “Big Little Lies” have set the internet ablaze, with actress and producer Nicole Kidman telling Variety that she and co-star Reese Witherspoon are “texting every day” about the HBO show. “We’re at work on it,” Kidman said, adding, “And there’s a timeline and we’re doing it. We can’t say anything more. We’ve got to start keeping our mouths shut… We’ve got to button it.”
Outside of “Big Little Lies,” Kidman will star in and produce the adaptation of Moriarty’s “The Last Anniversary.” Meanwhile, Heather Graham is set to produce TV series “The Hypnotist’s Love Story,” also penned by Moriarty.
Previously, the rights to Moriarty’s novel “The Husband’s Secret” were acquired by CBS Films in 2013, with Blake Lively cast in 2017. The project moved to Sony Pictures in February 2022, with Kat Coiro directing.
Best of IndieWire