“I got a chapter in and I decided not to read it,” actor Jaeden Martell says about the novel “Defending Jacob” that serves as the source material for the upcoming miniseries of the same name, which has now debuted on Apple TV+ with three episodes. “The character Jacob is quite different,” Martell continues in his exclusive interview with Gold Derby about playing the eponymous character (watch the video above), adding that the eight-episode adaptation strove for him “to feel more normal and relatable to the audience rather than being this super dark, gloomy character” that he is in the novel.
“Defending Jacob” sees Massachusetts teenager Jacob Barber put on trial for the murder of a classmate. Martell explains about the mistakes that Jacob makes, “He takes it seriously, but it’s definitely important to remember that he is a normal teenager. He wants to retain that normalcy throughout the trial and wants to play video games and wants to have relationships with his friends, but it’s really hard to do that in this difficult situation, so he acts out in a way and does things that definitely don’t help him in this situation, but it’s only because he wants to return to being a normal kid.”
This represents the first regular role on television for Martell after major roles in films like “It,” “Knives Out” and “St. Vincent” — as Jaeden Lieberher. He reveals about changing his name legally, “That is my mom’s last name and I wanted to honor her because she is here with me every day that she’s on set with me and she makes me the person I am. I owe everything to her and she has raised me the last 17 years.”
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