Saturday, June 15, 2024

Jessica Biel almost quit Hollywood before ‘The Sinner,’ admits she’s ‘still fighting’ for roles

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Jessica Biel revealed she almost quit Hollywood before executive-producing and starring in the hit series “The Sinner.”

During an appearance on “The Bright Side” podcast, the 42-year-old actress recalled how she became discouraged after co-founding her production company Iron Ocean and struggling for over a decade to get a project picked up.

“Doors did not open at all, even being in the business for so long,” Biel said. 

Jessica Biel revealed she almost quit Hollywood before “The Sinner.” (Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images)

“I’ve had this production company with my partner, Michelle Purple, for 20 years. I started it with her when I was 22, and for the first 10 years, we had almost no success at all.

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“We had a very challenging time getting any story told.”

The “7th Heaven” alum explained she and Purple produced a short film and a full-length feature movie, which she described as a “labor of love.” However, the two were unable to sell either project.

“And then not until many years later, that’s when we were introduced to “The Sinner” and then built that show from the ground up,” Biel said. 

“When we were actually selling that show, Michelle and I looked at each other, and she said, ‘If we don’t sell this show, I’m quitting.’ 

“I said, ‘Me too, I’m quitting. I’m not doing this. I don’t know — if this show doesn’t sell, I don’t know what people want. I don’t know what to bring them. I don’t understand this business anymore. I just don’t get it anymore.’

jessica biel at the sinner premiere

She received nominations for an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for her performance. (Jemal Countess/FilmMagic)

“And then we sold it in the room,” Biel added. “It was so weird.”

In “The Sinner,” Biel played troubled mother Cora Tannetti, who shockingly stabs an apparent stranger to death while enjoying a beach day with her family. Because Cora has no idea why she committed the murder, police Det. Harry Ambrose sets out to determine the motive for her actions.

The actress was nominated for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for her performance in “The Sinner,” which was made into an anthology series that ran for four seasons.

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Biel and Purple went on to produce the 2022 Hulu miniseries “Candy,” which also starred the “Total Recall” actress. The duo executive-produce the hit thriller series “Cruel Summer.”

jessica biel with michelle purple

Biel and Purple went on to produce Hulu’s “Candy.” (Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

While speaking on “The Bright Side” podcast, Biel shared that it was a “humbling” experience to prove she could be a successful producer despite having an established acting career.

“It was basically like starting over on some level,” she said.

“The Illusionist” star noted the industry was very different years ago, and there was little interest in female-driven projects.

“It was a time when nobody cared about women’s stories,” Biel said. “It was before we had this amazing runway for powerful, complex female stories.

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“So, it just wasn’t the right time either, and we were fighting against all the elements. It was a very humbling experience, and it still continues to be humbling.”

Jessica Biel

Biel admitted she is “still fighting” for the roles she wants as an actress. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Biel said achieving success in Hollywood can be difficult for anyone.

“I don’t find that my industry — or being an actor or producer — is easy in any way, shape or form,” she said. 

“It is so much blood, sweat and tears that you put into getting these projects made, and so many of the things we work on never, ever come to fruition.

“I feel like most producers would say the same thing, that they have that experience, and it’s very hard. And also on my own just sort of separating my company from my own acting career.”

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The “Total Recall” star explained she still faces challenges landing roles as an actress.

“I am fighting for those roles that I really want and auditioning and not getting them,” she said. “Still hearing nos, like a lot of nos.

 “It’s a humbling business all around,” Biel added. “And I think it might always be that way.”

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