Last Thursday, NBC premiered The Slap, a dramatic eight-episode mini-series that explores the repercussions when one terrible, contentious event occurs within a family. In this show’s case, that event is when Harry (Zachary Quinto) slaps the five-year-old child of Rosie (Melissa George) and Gary (Thomas Sadoski). The site of this act is the birthday party of Hector (Peter Sarsgaard), whose wife is Aisha (Thandie Newton), though he’s also interested in the babysitter Connie (Makenzie Leigh). Got all that? It's a lot. Each episode follows another character, so you see how the situation plays out from each point of view.
The promos for the show kicked off on NBC during the Sundance Film Festival a few weeks ago. Several of the stars of the series just happened to be there promoting their new indie flicks—including Experimenter star Sarsgaard, I Am Michael star Quinto, and James White star Leigh—and so when they swung by our pop-up portrait studio to talk movies, we had to know, is the show as intense as it seems?
For Sarsgaard, the show is really about revealing issues that can happen in real families, even if it's not as intense as a slap-turned-lawsuit. "I think it shows how one thing leads to another and how one event can be the catalyst, the tipping point, that makes all the truth get revealed in all different aspects of our lives," he told us. "The act itself, slapping someone else's child, is obviously significant, but this is actually not a project about child abuse. For my character, it's family versus wife."
Zachary Quinto's Take: 'It's an Exploration of Psyche'
As for the man behind 'the slap,' Quinto said that this series dives into very complex territory in a way that will make people respond. "This is an incredible exploration of the psyche,” he said. "People are going to hate me at first, but they will come around."
This up-and-comer, who plays the wannabe lover of Hector, wants viewers to just watch and take it in, and reserve judgement until after they've seen the entire series. "The slap itself is a metaphorical thing," she told InStyle. "This child gets slapped by another person's father, which reveals all these ugly truths in everybody. If nothing else, I hope it makes people look at their views and why they think what they think. Everyone always thinks they're right all the time, but they might not be." That's why she likes that each episode shows what happens through a someone else's eyes. "I like that you get another perspective, and everything gets context." She had filmed her own episode that follows her character in Astoria just the day before she flew to Sundance.
Are you going to watch it? Episode two premieres tonight, Thursday at 8/7c on NBC. Watch a preview of the new installment below.