Columbo. Kojak. Homicide, She Wrote. These are the reveals mostly talked about when describing Peacock’s new show, Poker Face. And, it being from Rian Johnson, the mastermind behind the Knives Out films (in addition to The Last Jedi), the comparisons are correct and logical. Poker Face is, at its core, a few girl named Charlie (Natasha Lyonne) who travels the nation and solves murders.
However there’s a twist. Charlie is a human lie detector. She will instinctively inform, for a reality, if an individual is mendacity about one thing. So in case you step again and describe that another way you would possibly say she has an innate, unexplained energy that makes her superior to others. Or, in different phrases, a superpower.
We right here at io9 have been debating this conclusion for weeks main as much as Poker Face’s January 26 debut on Peacock—and to get the definitive reply whereas diving a bit extra into this mysterious skill of Charlie’s, we went to the person himself, present creator Rian Johnson.
Germain Lussier, io9: Mr. Johnson, how are you doing, sir?
Rian Johnson: Nice, man. The way you doing?
io9: I’m doing nice. So io9, as chances are you’ll or could not know, is primarily a sci-fi web site.
Johnson: Verify it each single day. I learn it each day.
io9: Oh. Wow. Thanks. Effectively, up to now few weeks, we’ve been debating one thing concerning the present, so I need to discover and ask this query. Do you suppose Charlie’s skill to detect a lie is a superpower?
Johnson: [Deep inhale] The place do you draw the road? It’s just like the Asimov factor of any important scientific development is indistinguishable from magic. And in that case, I don’t know. What’s the distinction between simply having one thing baked at the back of your mind that may decide up delicate little issues that set off that, and quote-unquote ESP? So I don’t know tips on how to reply that query. I don’t know. I imply, it’s undoubtedly superhuman. In that, it’s past actuality when it comes to what people can do, nevertheless it’s additionally one thing that’s weirdly believable. So if it means you’ll cowl it on io9, I believe. Sure, it’s completely [a superpower].
It’s pure science fiction! It’s pure sci-fi [Laughs].
io9: That was my intuition, too, as a result of the present is so nice [and I want to cover it]. So the place did the concept behind that energy come from? How did it grow to be the crux of the entire present?
Johnson: I imply, that type of got here into play as soon as I spotted the character was not a detective and it was not going to be her job to resolve crimes, and but this present may be very a lot a throwback, clearly, to the type of case-of-that-week mysteries I grew up watching on TV. I knew [it] was going to have the Jessica Fletcher factor of wherever she’s at, there’s a homicide. To a sure diploma, you’re simply asking the viewers for a buy-in with that. To a sure diploma, it’s simply, yeah, that’s the present, let’s have enjoyable with this.
Additionally, although, I felt prefer it’s acquired to be one thing. There needs to be one thing. And so in my thoughts, the lie detector factor, it will perform a bit like in The Useless Zone, like when Walken touches folks’s fingers and goes “Bzzzzz.” The notion that in case you may detect little lies, you’d in all probability discover much more nefarious stuff taking place throughout you each single day. That was slightly little bit of the way in which into it—we’ve acquired to provide her one thing that can give her a motive for being good at this.
io9: Yeah. And like I mentioned, I’m diving into this. Does energy have an origin? And can we ever discover the origin of that energy?
Johnson: [Laughs] You recognize what, it’s fascinating. We considered doing—we don’t this season, however we considered doing an episode that’s a flashback to her childhood, or along with her dad, or one thing the place you type of see [where it starts]. It’s arduous although as a result of I nonetheless haven’t cracked precisely what—possibly I’ll developing, however determining what that will be, that’s not simply type of a psychological factor that seems like one thing we’ve seen earlier than. I don’t know. And I’m nonetheless on the fence whether or not or not that will be fascinating to clarify the place it got here from; I don’t know. Nevertheless it’s one thing that’s nonetheless on the desk, I believe. Or she went right into a gamma ray tank and it went horribly incorrect. And for the sake of this web site, that’s clearly what occurred. I’ll go together with that. [Laughs]
io9: Sure! Absolutely endorsed. And the very last thing on this, does the ability have any type of kryptonite? Will you discover that otherwise you’ve considered that?
Johnson: That’s a really fascinating factor. Sure. There may be one factor. I don’t even know if I ought to say it as a result of we’d use it for season two. However, really, there are a few various things the place we thought on this scenario it will be fascinating for her to fulfill anyone who she will be able to’t learn. And so I’m not going to say an excessive amount of about it as a result of I believe it’s one thing we’ll use sooner or later. However I’m very enthusiastic about exploring that, and the truth that we acquired a complete season’s price of stuff and didn’t even faucet into that properly to me is thrilling.
io9: What I really like concerning the present is it’s not a single thriller. It’s type of 4 mysteries in a single. It’s who’s killed, how Charlie matches in, how she’ll determine it out, and what she’ll do about it. So, which comes first, and the way do you match all of it collectively?
Johnson: Effectively, it’s type of a rooster and the egg factor. I imply, within the author’s room, we’d type of pitch, initially, worlds. Like areas. Prefer it’d be enjoyable to see an episode in dinner theater, in a snowed-in motel within the Rockies. After which we’d pitch homicide twists, principally. Like, what if it’s one of these homicide and also you suppose it’s… So it was type of like a mix of all of these.
After which as soon as we acquired these primary constructing blocks, what you’re describing when it comes to the structural procedural parts of it that type of is available in breaking the present. In order that’s the following step as soon as you realize the large idea of it. However one factor that I actually love is like within the first act, the little The place’s Waldo side of as soon as you know the way the factor is structured, recognizing, “Oh, that’s the Barracuda again there,” attempting to guess the place Charlie’s going to slot in. And that’s one thing we tried to cover, little issues in each episode.
Poker Face debuts January 26 with its first 4 episodes. The ultimate six will then drop weekly, all on Peacock.
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