How Jessica Biel 'Legitimized' New Facebook Watch Series Limetown, According To The Creator

Limetown Jessica Biel Lia Haddock Facebook Watch
(Image credit: Facebook Watch)

In the new Facebook Watch series Limetown, Jessica Biel stars in the lead role of Lia Haddock. The television show is an adaptation of the popular scripted podcast series of the same name. In the show, Biel’s Lia is trying to solve a devastating mystery. What happened to hundreds of people who vanished from a Tennessee neuroscience research facility?

A journalist with a personal connection to the case, Jessica Biel’s Lia is determined to find out the answer. Limetown marks Biel’s first television show since Season 1 of USA’s gripping 2017 crime drama, The Sinner. She'd tackled that series long after her star-making turn in 7th Heaven and a stream of movie roles.

Now the actress is taking the lead in one of the many podcast adaptations that are all the rage nowadays. How did Limetown’s creators know that Jessica Biel was the right fit to play Lia Haddock? Co-creator Zack Akers told me:

Well I mean it's not like we were like ‘I guess we'll take Jessica Biel.’ [laughs] It was one of those things that, you know, when she became interested in the project, we thought it was maybe a joke, at first like [hahaha]. But then it got more and more serious and I was like ‘Oh, this... big star, who is a great actor, wants to be a part of our show,’ and suddenly it legitimized everything that we were doing.

It makes sense that having a lead actor already familiar with their character would be an edge. As curious minds can see in the arresting trailer for the Facebook Watch series, Limetown finds Jessica Biel’s Lia sifting through a twisty journey. When Biel expressed interest in the project, it became clear she had the insight necessary to carry the show.

Jessica Biel’s commitment and level of interest in the character of Lia Haddock and the Limetown universe were considerable. The Limetown podcast had premiered back in 2015. A second season bowed last October. Jessica Biel came into her first meeting with Limetown’s creators with apt knowledge of the show’s lead character. Zack Aker continued, saying:

. . .It was just one of those things that, in our first conversation with her we understood how seriously she had delved into the world, and invested in it, and how. . .she was bringing her intelligence, and her passion to it. And it was really after the first conversation that we knew that she was going to be a great fit for us, and the show, and then it just it bore out entirely in working with her. You know, her level of professionalism, and again, her passion, sort of elevated everything, and everyone around her. And I sort of feel sick thinking about if we hadn't gotten her on the show.

Jessica Biel’s dedication and insight into the role also impressed Limetown co-creator, Skip Bronkie. Lia Haddock is the lead character the series follows. However, she remains an enigmatic force as the series gets underway. Like Zack Aker, Bronkie was also intrigued by how intensely Biel already had a beat on the character, in early conversations. Bronkie said:

Yeah, I think the only thing I’d add to it is that really for me it goes back to that very first phone call we had with her before she had committed to the project. And I was just shocked and struck by how much of a grasp she already had on Lia Haddock. And how much work she had put into developing who Lia Haddock might be.

What insights did Jessica Biel share about her would-be Limetown character? Quite a few things. From how her mind worked to how she operated, Biel had thought about Lia a lot, and she shared her thorough observations with Limetown’s creators. Series co-creator Skip Bronkie continued, saying:

And I went back, and I was looking at my notes from that first conversation, and you know, she was saying things that we hadn't thought of. Like Lia is reckless and Lia is obsessive, and Lia is a loner. But then she was pushing it further into these very specific ideas. Like Lia is the type of character who never plateaus, and Lia is almost an addict when it comes to getting answers.

Jessica Biel’s understanding of Lia Haddock did not end there! Biel did not just have a feel for what kind of a person Lia would be. She also shared a very specific illustration of something she thought that the Limetown character would be capable of doing. It was an insight that sealed the deal for Limetown co-creator, Skip Bronkie, who continued saying:

And she said that Lia is the type of person who could accidentally break her own finger in anger, and it was in that moment where. . .for me I was just like 'Oh, she absolutely has to be Lia Haddock.' She understands this character better than we do, at this point, and we've just started.

Jessica Biel’s revelatory insights helped pave the way forward with Limetown’s creators knowing she was the one to play Lia Haddock. Viewers will soon get their chance to see Biel inhabit the emotional role. The series’ launch is imminent, and the half-hour drama will kick off its run with two episodes.

Limetown premieres Wednesday, October 16, at 3 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch as part of this fall’s premieres.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.