May 14, 2024
Press Releases

Lily Gladstone, Riley Keough and Producers of Hulu’s True Crime Series Under the Bridge Talk to emmy Magazine

The Hulu limited series Under the Bridge examines the complexities of a real-life 1997 middle-school murder in Saanich, British Columbia. The cast, including Oscar nominee Lily Gladstone and Emmy nominee Riley Keough, along with Quinn Shephard, the creator and co-showrunner of the true crime drama, talk with emmy about how the series looks at the tragedy from multiple perspectives. The award-winning official publication of the Television Academy is on sale May 15. 

The series is based on the 2005 book Under the Bridge: The True Story of the Murder of Reena Virk, by Rebecca Godfrey. Shephard was not a typical fan of true crime, but she was fascinated by the book and keen to work with Godfrey on a television adaptation. The two bonded quickly, talking for hours over picnics at Godfrey's home in upstate New York.

The eight-episode limited series premiered April 17 and features an extraordinary cast. After a six-month search, the casting team selected 14-year-old Vritika Gupta to star as Reena Virk, the real-life victim who was killed by a group of her teenage peers. Although Rebecca Godfrey did not include her own story in the book, Shephard wanted her to be a character in the series: "So much of her real story — her childhood and the things she went through as a kid — informed the way she wrote the book and all of her actions." Played by Keough (Daisy Jones & The Six), the role of Godfrey addresses how the process of reporting changed perceptions of the crime and its perpetrators. Gladstone ("Killers of the Flower Moon") plays Cam Bentland, an amalgam of many of the real law enforcement officers who worked on the case.

In the cover story, “Hidden Depths,” co-showrunner and executive producer Samir Mehta explains how the series delivers a three-dimensional view of the crime, investigation, and the resulting social tensions. “We didn’t just want to say, ‘Oh, it’s this racially motivated crime; a group of racists killed a young Indian girl,’” Mehta says. “That’s one piece, but not the entire puzzle. To me, the show was built as a Greek tragedy, where you’re coming at it from a bird’s-eye view, and the audience can see — across decades — all parts of this tragedy ultimately coming to be.”

Mehta also describes how the show handles the brutality of the killing with a specialized camera called the Phantom, which shoots slow motion at a very high frame rate: "It adds a dreamlike quality. We're seeing the moments through the perspective of the kids. We bring the audience up to the margin and then cut to allow the imagination to run wild."

Sadly, in 2018 Godfrey was diagnosed with lung cancer. She continued to read scripts and send notes from her hospital bed but passed away before the series began shooting. "I think she was really aware that this was a collaboration that would move beyond her and live on after her," Shephard says. "She was so devoted to the show and seeing it get made."

Additional feature highlights from the new issue include:

  • In an emmy exclusive, the co-creators and costars of Showtime's The Curse, Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie, discuss taking a new approach to the show's finale while remaining true to its storytelling DNA. In "The Up Shot," the duo share how clever stunts, thoughtful production design and minimal visual effects take the series to new heights.
  • In "The Beat Goes On," emmy celebrates the 25th anniversary of NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Cast members Mariska Hargitay and Ice T reflect on a quarter century of playing dedicated New York City detectives on the longest-running primetime drama.
  • Actress Kristen Wiig and costume designer Alix Friedberg talk with emmy in "Society Pages" about the exuberant costuming that helps recreate the fabulous look

About emmy
Emmy, the official publication of the Television Academy, goes behind the scenes of the industry for a unique insider's view. With wide-ranging, inclusive subjects representative of the Television Academy membership and the medium as a whole, emmy showcases the scope of television and profiles the people who make it happen, from the stars of top shows and artisans behind the cameras, to programming trends and technological advances. Honored with dozens of awards for editorial excellence, emmy is published 13 times per year and is available on selected newsstands and at for single print and digital copies as well as subscriptions.

Download the press release here

For issue/coverage contacts:
Stephanie Goodell

breakwhitelight for the Television Academy

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