Grace Van Patten talks 'Tell Me Lies,' toxic relationships

BySandy Kenyon via OTRC logo
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
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In the tradition of "Normal People" and "Nine Perfect Strangers" comes a new limited series on Hulu based on the best selling novel, "Tell Me Lies." Sandy Kenyon has the story.

In the tradition of "Normal People" and "Nine Perfect Strangers" comes a new limited series on Hulu based on the best selling novel, "Tell Me Lies."

It charts the course of a troubled romance over eight years and stars Grace Van Patten as a college student caught up in her first big relationship.

Lucy is a freshman, while Stephen is a couple of years older. He is the college boyfriend she will never forget, but it's more Mr. Wrong than Mr. Right when the relationship turns toxic.

"I think at that age, it's easy to mistake desire and passion and newness for love," Van Patten said. "So it really makes her latch onto him in an unhealthy way."

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"Tell Me Lies" is about the dangers of not communicating, and Lucy's journey mirrors Van Patten's experience.

"Just in terms of having no idea who I was and really thinking I did," she said. "I've been on a long journey to realize that vulnerability is the most powerful, beautiful thing in the world, and I hope Lucy realizes that too."

It's just one reason the star plays Lucy so convincingly and compellingly, and her evolution didn't come all on its own.

"Therapy," she said with a laugh. "A lot of therapy and experiencing life."

Van Patten lived in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, before moving to Los Angeles recently, and she says she's already missing New York City.

"(New York) has character," she said. "So much variety...It's always going to be home for me."

Van Patten has held her own opposite some of the world's best actors, including Nicole Kidman, Michael Shannon and the cast of "Nine Perfect Strangers."

Playing different characters has helped to define her as one of the most skilled performers of her generation.

"Every character makes me examine another part of myself," she said.

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This was particularly true in the case of Lucy in "Tell Me Lies."

"I definitely learned about myself through the process and understood myself at that age a little bit more," she said. "Which ultimately helped me understand myself now."

The first four episodes are streaming now on Hulu, which is owned by Disney, the parent company of this ABC station.

New episodes will premiere every Wednesday this fall.