A tension that expands from book to screen in the adaptation of Laura Dave’s best-selling novel “The Last Thing He Told Me” lies in Hannah Hall’s (Jennifer Garner) friendship with Jules (Aisha Tyler).
The seven-episode drama series, which premiered April 14 on Apple TV+, follows Hannah and Bailey Michaels (Angourie Rice) as they are forced to come together to figure out why Bailey’s father and Hannah’s husband Owen Michaels (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) vanishes after his tech company, The Shop, goes under FBI investigation for fraud. Hannah’s best friend since high school Jules (Aisha Tyler), a San Francisco Chronicle sports journalist, warns Owen after her colleague Max gets a tip from a source about the FBI raid.
“She wants to hold on to her integrity. I think [Jules] has a lot of integrity, and I think that integrity extends both to her professional life and also to her personal life,” Tyler told TheWrap. “She wants to help Hannah, and she also doesn’t want to alarm Hannah and also doesn’t want to exploit that relationship or exploit her background as a journalist for either Hannah’s sake or honestly for the newspaper’s sake. It is a very fine line to walk.”
As the mystery unfolds, taking Hannah and Bailey to Austin to connect the puzzle pieces from Bailey’s distant memory and Owen’s past, Jules and Max update them about anything they hear regarding The Shop and Owen’s fate. She does several favors for Hannah upon a phone call, driving on errands between Sausalito and San Francisco, where she works.
“It’s something that I think you would hope anyway, that you would have that kind of integrity as a person if you’re going through a similar thing. She doesn’t want to tell them anything she doesn’t have to,” Tyler added. “By that, I don’t mean that she’s keeping secrets, but she doesn’t want to upset [Hannah] until she knows what the truth really is, and that truth has been hidden very assiduously. It takes a little while to get down to what’s really underneath.”
Author Laura Dave jokes that her husband, showrunner Josh Singer, has told stories about at least four newsrooms now after his work on “Spotlight” and “The Post.”
“We just tried to walk that fine line of like, she didn’t do anything ethically irresponsible, and some of it happened by accident,” Dave told TheWrap. “Jules was a sports editor so she wouldn’t, it was sort of a confluence of events that got them sort of right in the middle of this as well.”
Singer used his extensive experience portraying journalism to flesh out Jules as a character and expand the dynamic she brings to the story.
“I’m researching to do the reboot of ‘Bullitt’ (1986) and I’ve been working with a journalist up at the Chronicle now and so I got to go in that newsroom after the fact,” Singer told TheWrap. “It was a thrill to have another newsroom in play. I think journalists are very, very important. I think the diminishment of local journalism has been a huge problem for this country. Fortunately, I have some good contacts to talk to, when I need to ask, ‘Would this be okay for Max to not [do or say]?’ Fortunately, Marty Baron is a Laura Dave fan, so hopefully he won’t slap our wrists for anything.”