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SXSW 2023 Rabbit Hole Creators And Stars Talk The ’70s Influence And Who We Can Trust

At SXSW last week, ahead of the season premiere on March 26th, I spoke with the creators and stars of Rabbit Hole. Paramount +’s eight-episode espionage thriller starring Kiefer Sutherland, Charles Dance, and Meta Golding is wild. Taking a page from the ’70s era paranoia, Ficarra and Requa are tapping into our universal distrust of big corporations, the government, and the media. It is an addictive story that capitalizes on the everyman appeal of its star Kiefer Sutherland who plays John Weir.

John is a good guy, mostly, who does terrible things for a living. It’s a role similar to the ones we have come to love him in, 24 and Designated Survivor, namely, and yet his Weir is a very different beast. It’s something that becomes very clear within the first most of Rabbit Hole’s pilot. This entire world is filled with shades of gray, which is part of the fun. The audience never knows who they can or should trust.

You will be surprised by Rabbit Hole. In the first four episodes alone, twists come hard and fast. Some of them are completely from left field. Even the “good guys” aren’t as innocent as they first present. It’s hard to know who we can trust, and that’s part of the fun of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s slippery spy thriller. You never really know who you can trust and constantly feel the ground underneath shifting.

Creators and writers Ficarra and Requa love that Sutherland is the one to deliver many of the big twists, as you won’t see them coming even though you probably should. Written for The Lost Boys star, they explained, “It is ’70s espionage but in a modern world.” Sutherland has the kind of unassuming charm that screams innocent, even when he isn’t. That unexpected quality comes through in every moment, making you question the moment before and the ones to come. They said John Weir in Rabbit hole “Manipulates reality in a world where reality might be manipulated already.” This series begs frequent rewatches as the creative dup confirms easter eggs are everywhere. In frames, conversations, and props, most of which won’t seem significant until later.

In addition to Sutherland, Meta Golding’s Hailey Winton and Charles Dance(Game Of Thrones) Ben Wilson are major players who may be allies or foes. Golding has terrific chemistry with Dance and Sutherland, without giving anything away, that continues to develop. Golding said, “It’s a conceptual show but also a show about relationships and people.” Those shaky relationships bring some of the most enjoyable and shocking moments to the series.

Golding was cagey when asked whether we could trust either of them. “Can we trust data, the government, and each other?” Ben and Hailey have self-serving motivations that are teased out as the series progresses. In particular, Ben is ruled by obsession and desperation. The pair explains Ben is trying to atone for past behavior while Hailey is trying to survive until the mission gets much larger for her.

The trio of Rob Yang playing government man Edward Homm, Enid Graham as FBI agent Josephine Madi, and Walt Klink as a baby-faced intern in Weir’s corporate manipulation business represent the innocents and the guilty. Those lines get set relatively early on in unexpected ways. As with most things, though, just when you think you have it all figured out, Rabbit Hole zags and everything you thought you knew changes.

One of the three is a hustler who does terrible things as easily as getting milk, one might be obsessed with a white whale of a criminal, and the third could be a completely innocent guy sucked into a world they never expected. At any given time, anyone could be all three. Like everyone involved interviewed for rabbit Hole before them, they were reluctant to provide a definitive answer about who could be trusted. Instead, the trio joked around the issue, citing characteristics rather than facts.

Yang said Edward is “good at Excel” but walked back his statement of innocence with a chuckle. Graham wants us to “go for it” and trust agent Madi but the twinkle in her eye betrays the sentiment. However, Graham did say we shouldn’t trust a “skateboarder.” Watch Rabbit Hole on Paramount + on March 26th to discover if that was a life truth or a clue. You can find all our SXSW coverage here.