Hollywood actress Jessica Biel talks producing hit series ‘Cruel Summer’

Hollywood actress Jessica Biel talks producing hit series ‘Cruel Summer’
Jessica Biel is executive producing the show alongside partners Michelle Purple and Tia Napolitano. File/Getty Images
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Updated 17 August 2021

Hollywood actress Jessica Biel talks producing hit series ‘Cruel Summer’

Hollywood actress Jessica Biel talks producing hit series ‘Cruel Summer’

LOS ANGELES: Jessica Biel is executive producer of her first series that does not also feature her as an actress with “Cruel Summer.” The psychological thriller follows Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) and Jeannette Turner (Chiara Aurelia). When Kate, the popular girl, goes missing, outsider Jeanette is accused of being connected to Kate's disappearance.

“That’s one of my favorite genres,” Biel said of her affinity for true crime. “I am that person who watches ‘Dateline’ or any podcast that comes out that I can find or that I’m told is about a real story. Any cool show, any documentary — I’m on it.”

The show is produced through Biel’s Iron Ocean Productions with her producing partner Michelle Purple. The duo has previously collaborated on the limited series “The Sinner” and “Limetown.”

Tia Napolitano is also an executive producer on the series.

“Cruel Summer” is the biggest series debut in Freeform’s history. Supplied

Along with Purple, Biel has produced a show that was the most-watched on its network and is a step toward their goal of making content that amplifies female voices.

In addition to the women on-screen, almost all of the off-camera roles are overseen by women. 

“I was very excited to work with them, to work with the strong female producing partners, and they exceeded expectations,” expressed showrunner Napolitano about working with the duo. “They’re so smart and their partnership has been everything to making this show.”

“Cruel Summer” is an impressive production due to its nonlinear timeline. The series, set in the mid-’90s, is told over the course of three summers and through shifting points of view.

It was also filmed during the pandemic.

“The most challenging part, besides the actual production happening during the pandemic, I think were the three timelines, keeping everybody’s story, character and emotional state on track, helping the actors know where they are and where they’re going,” Biel shared.

Now, there is a second season on the way.

Freeform President Tara Duncan recently said: “Renewing ‘Cruel Summer’ for a Season 2 was an easy decision. It’s the biggest series debut in Freeform’s history and the audience response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Jessica, Michelle and Tia did a phenomenal job telling an addictive story that’s tapped into the cultural zeitgeist. I’m excited to see where they take the series next.”

While no official release date has been given just yet, Biel confirmed that “Cruel Summer” will return with new episodes in 2022.