To know Carrie Coon’s work is to love it, and whether you were fascinated by the quiet complexity of Nora Durst in HBO's The Leftovers or enamored with her technologically stymied Chief Burgle in FX's Fargo, it's clear that riding along with one of Coon’s characters is going to be a helluva journey. And, trust us, Season 2 of The Sinner is no exception.
In the brand-new mystery of USA’s eight-episode limited series, Coon plays Vera Walker, an enigmatic commune leader outside the small town of Keller, New York. By the second episode, we start to fill in some of the gaps of this mysterious and formidable character who is trying to protect Julian (Elisha Henig); he is the 13-year-old boy responsible for murdering two adult members of her commune and it’s Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) and Heather Novack's (Natalie Paul) mission to figure out why he did it. [Light spoilers for episode 2 follow.]
USA Network spoke with Coon about the latest episode, including a gripping scene in a courtroom where Vera helplessly explains to a judge that she lacks proper documentation for the boy’s home-schooling. In addition to feeling Vera’s utter exasperation at “the man” and her seething anger toward a judge who has already pre-judged her, some of us may have sensed that we’ve been here with Coon before...
“I remember doing that scene with our director Antonio Campos,” Coon recalled. “That was very early in our shooting and that was the courthouse where I had shot a scene from The Leftovers where I had gotten a divorce after my children had disappeared. It was really strange to walk back into that courtroom and to be executing a very similar scene in a very similar tone. Nora Durst [from The Leftovers] was much dryer because she was just getting a divorce, but she also lost her children and her husband -- and she decides in that moment to keep her name. So it's this place of loss for all my characters.”
Having been there before, Coon had to make sure that she was not doing Nora again -- and her director was a huge help in the process. “Antonio is really good at taking a moment and stripping away anything unnecessary,” Coon explained, “and doing that several times with several different colors, so by the time you get to last take, all of the colors are present in the final moment… I have to Antonio credit for getting me there because I was really, really thrown for a few takes being in that room.”
What’s even more bizarre is that Coon wasn’t the only one with deja vu in that scene -- the show cast the same stand-in for Vera in The Sinner as The Leftovers had cast for Nora Durst!
“I had the same young woman, Rachel, standing in for me too!” Coon remarked. “So it was all very weird. It was like I was in purgatory, and everybody was coming back to tell me all the things I'd done wrong.”
Watch the courthouse scene below:
The Sinner is back with Part III on Wednesday. The first two episodes are available on demand, USANetwork.com, and the USA App!