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NBC Insider Apples Never Fall

Yes, Apples Never Fall Will Be a Little Different from the Book — But Liane Moriarty Approves

Apples Never Fall showrunner Melanie Marnich promises "propulsive storytelling" and a "surprising mystery" that will keep fans at the edge of their seat.

By Jill Sederstrom

Devoted fans of author Liane Moriarty won’t be disappointed by Peacock’s deliciously addictive mystery, Apples Never Fall.

Showrunner Melanie Marnich has promised the limited series, which is based off Moriarty’s bestselling novel of the same name, has everything book lovers have come to expect from a page-turning thriller, whether its complex characters or a “surprising mystery” that reveals itself “layer after layer.” 

“As the mystery goes deeper, the character stories go deeper. And as the character stories go deeper, the mystery goes deeper,” Marnich, who also served as the writer and executive producer, told NBC Insider. “One does not ever exist without the other.” 

Apples Never Fall tells the story of former tennis coaches Joy and Stan Delaney, played by Annette Bening and Sam Neill, as they adjust to life in retirement. Their life takes on new excitement when a mysterious stranger knocks on their door, causing the couple and their four adult children to reevaluate their lives. When Joy suddenly goes missing, the family’s darkest secrets begin to emerge, revealing the family is anything but perfect. 

Will Liane Moriarty book fans like Apples Never Fall?

In-depth character studies are a hallmark of Moriarty’s popular novels, whether it’s in novels like Big Little Lies, Nine Perfect Strangers, or Apples Never Fall — and the limited series is no different.

Annette Bening as joy on Apples Never Fall

“It was very important for me to capture from the book this sense of propulsive storytelling that I hope is extremely entertaining and takes you into the human condition and … the highs and lows of family life, of love, of moral complexity, and what it is to be in a long-term relationship,” Marnich explained. “It’s just a great ride.” 

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That doesn’t mean, however, that the series is a mirror image of the novel. Without giving away any spoilers, Marnich hinted that a few aspects of the story were adjusted to accommodate the television format. 

“I decided to change a few of the character relationships, occupations, added a few people to enrich what was there and to really push … the character part of it and the mystery,” she revealed of the seven-part limited series. 

Even with the minor changes, the limited series still stays true to the spirit of the novel and Moriarty, who served as an executive producer, offered her “full support” for the adaptation.

“She came to the table reading of the pilot last March and we’ve been in touch,” Marnich said. “She just watched the first five and she loves them.” 

Do you have to read the book Apples Never Fall to enjoy the limited series? 

Apples Never Fall5

Fans of Moriarty’s work are sure to enjoy the limited series — which also stars Alison Brie, Jake Lacy, Conor Merrigan-Turner, Essie Randles, and Georgia Flood — but even those who haven’t picked up the novel will find themselves quickly drawn into the mystery.

“If you haven’t read the book, I would say you will be introduced to some great page-turner energy,” Marnich said.

Marnich herself was quickly drawn into the story after reading a galley copy of the book. 

“I read it and I bet within the first 10 pages I fell madly in love,” she admitted to NBC Insider. “I loved the way Liane looked at Joy Delaney, the family of the Delaneys, the contradictions that exist in love and family [and] the secrets that live within a family.” 

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Joy Delaney’s story in particular resonated with the television writer and producer. 

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“I was really intrigued by the story of a woman who had sacrificed so much of her life for other people, only to find out at a certain point she's being taken for granted,” she shared. “I thought that was very honest and very clear-eyed and I'm sure speaks to a lot of women who raised families and worked hard their whole lives.”

Marnich knew immediately that Bening was the perfect actress to embody the complex character. 

“I knew it in my bones immediately when I pitched the project,” she said. “I was like, and I see Annette Bening as Joy, like it was right off the top. She and I had our initial conversation. We clicked. She asked really smart questions.”

Once Bening was signed onto the project, Marnich set out to find another “brilliant performer” who could match Bening’s energy and was thrilled to bring Neill onto the project. 

“I really felt he would bring both the power and the mystery to Stan,” she said.

Brie, Lacy, Merrigan-Turner, Randles, and Flood round out the cast.

“The tone of this show is really complex. It is a mystery. It is a family drama. It is funny. And you need actors who can take all three of those elements and deliver them sharply and yet feel absolutely authentic every step of the way,” Marnich said. 

To see how the drama will play out, tune in to Apples Never Fall, streaming on Peacock beginning March 14.

Original reporting by Stephanie Gomulka