Chibuikem Uche felt a lot of pressure portraying a black athlete who has yet to express his sexuality in Peacock’s upcoming series, “One Of Us Is Lying”, set to premiere on Nov. 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on W Network.
The highly anticipated show based on Karen M. McManus’ New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, tells the story of what happens when the Queen B, athlete, geek, rebel and recluse all get detention in the same room, but only four of the stereotypical characters make it out alive. Though each person is then forced to face their issues and insecurities as the murder mystery unfolds, many of the series actors agree that Uche’s character, Cooper, has the most impactful storyline as he explores how to come out in a very heterosexual industry.
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“The journey that Cooper goes on in terms of his sexuality, particularly sexuality within sports and how you just don’t really have many out athletes… is alarming and for a young person in Cooper’s shoes, it can be very scary to be like, ‘Where do I exist in the world,’” Uche told ET Canada. “So I think it’s beautiful that the show highlights that and you’ll watch on and see how Cooper navigates it.”
In the real world, NBA’s Jason Collins became the first openly gay active player in any of the big four sports leagues in 2013. Eight years later and the NFL found its first openly gay player in the Raider’s Carl Nassib. Since it seems like his character’s struggles are mirroring the news we see today, Uche admits he felt a lot of “pressure” to portray the struggle of coming out as a teenager correctly.
“I did feel pressure, and I had to trust the people that I work with in a sense because the pressure can be shared, but also I had to do my due diligence and terms of research, reading books, reading articles, having conversations, watching videos, and doing everything I could to prepare then trusting my collaborators to tell the best story possible,” Uche said.
As for the rest of the show’s controversial plot twists, Uche hopes viewers will appreciate how the show addresses subjects like mental health in comparison to the novel’s approach.
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“I think [the show] does it justice,” Uche said. “I hope that people will see that, but I think it highlights topics that are very real and not always pretty in terms of mental illness and how to navigate it and some of the ways that people will try to cope.”
“In terms of sexuality, I think it highlights some of the pressures that young people feel and there’s a loneliness involved in these things, but you’ll watch on and you’ll see that there are lessons to be learned and healthy ways to navigate through these topics,” he added. “I’m grateful that the show does that and showcases that these topics in their entirety are very raw. There’s something to be taken away from how we portray it.”
“One Of Us Is Lying” premieres Nov. 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on W Network,