How Tom Riley Discovered The Big Twist In The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window – Exclusive
“The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window” may have debuted on Netflix back in January, but fans are still talking about the show’s wild twist ending. As a satirical thriller, the series is all about subverting expectations. Yet, even knowing the show’s status as a parody didn’t prepare most fans for the absolutely bonkers Season 1 conclusion.
And fans aren’t alone in being shocked by the series’ plot twist. Most of the cast was just as surprised (and enthralled) by the shocker as fans — the actors just knew about it a whole lot earlier. That was certainly the case for Tom Riley (who plays Neil), Shelley Hennig (his onscreen girlfriend Lisa/Chastity), and Mary Holland (Sloane).
During an exclusive interview with Looper, Tom Riley revealed how he discovered the film’s epic plot twist and how he snuck a few peeks during the finale showdown between characters Anna and Emma.
Riley on uncovering the plot twist
Unsurprisingly, the filming process for “The Woman In The House” was as unique as the premise. As actor Tom Riley said, “What was unusual about this one — in comparison to how a longer-running series would be, rather than a limited series — is that we knew everything from the beginning, and what was great is, we had one director for the entire show.”
While fans may view scenes and episodes in order, they’re not often filmed that way. “We do stuff from Episode 2 on one day and then stuff from Episode 8 the next day, then stuff from Episode 1 the third day, depending on the locations’ availability. We had to know what was ahead,” Riley noted. “As far as that reveal’s concerned, when I was reading [the scripts], it was the closest I got to discovering, by reading all the episodes in a row. It felt simultaneously like the stupidest possible [ending] and the perfect one.” That just about sums up the scene as young Emma (Samsara Yett) is revealed as the protagonist and ends up in a showdown with Anna (Kristen Bell).
“We are building very clearly towards something absurd, and no matter how absurd you think it can get, we go one step further. My favorite thing about the absurd reveal at the end is the fact her motivations are so … They’re just weak,” Riley added. Noting character Emma’s ridiculous reasoning for killing the character of Lisa, Riley continued, “We’ve led the audience down the garden path of trying to work out what the motivation would be amongst all these deep-thinking adults, and it’s just some kid being pissed off. It’s good stuff.”
Riley kept one eye on the stabbing scene
Actor Tom Riley wasn’t above sneaking a few peeks during Emma and Anna’s ultimate knife fight when the opportunity presented itself. “Anything that went into my field of vision [was] because I made the schoolboy error of deciding to be dead with my eyes open, which seems a really good idea when you’re only going for a five-minute scene and a terrible idea for a scene that takes a week to shoot.”
Who could look away during those iconic moments, though? “If any of the fight went through my field of vision, I could see it. Aside from that, because the camera was flipping all over the place and they were jumping all over the place, I was too scared to sit back and watch in case I happened to be in the background of a shot accidentally grinning away and ruining all their hard work,” Riley added. “There’s nothing to complain about, it’s boring to be in one place covered in blood, but I was witnessing something absolutely insane. I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to do that ever again. It was a blast.”
The first season of “The Woman in the House” is now streaming on Netflix.