ET: How difficult was it to slip into these characters and find that point of connection for you as actors?
Gus Halper: Extremely difficult. Playing a real person, for me, feels like a greater responsibility. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. These guys’ lives were not easy. The story that we’re not telling is not easy. As far as I’m concerned, they endured some of the greatest trauma that a human being can. It’s a really tragic, high-stakes, highly emotional story, so it was really hard. It still is really hard. It hasn’t gotten any easier.
Miles Gaston Villanueva: Daily, weekly and monthly, there were new challenges. It’s so difficult and so challenging in so many difficult ways. It’s amazing how you think one thing is challenging, “OK, we got past that,” but then we’re coming up on filming the actual shooting of the parents and then doing the testimony. Gus and I have high hopes for ourselves and we’re too critical of ourselves, but just because we want to do it justice. But it’s been such an exhausting, daunting, challenging [experience] -- everything you can imagine for this role and this project. Having Gus to talk to and do these things with and to calm each other down, has been such a relief and gift. Could not be doing it without him.
What was the most draining scene or episode to film, emotionally, physically and mentally?
Halper: On Thursday, we did the shooting scene over and over and over. We got different versions. We got every angle.
Villanueva: Fourteen hours.
Halper: The very next day, we did the most intense part of our testimony about the sexual abuse [claims] on the stand. Those two days were enough to make us really sick as dogs.
Villanueva: Yeah, those back-to-back days were it. That takes the cake. We got sick and we’re still recovering, and that was three weeks ago. Still on the mend.