Viewers were confused as to why the award-winning actor took on the role
The hit crime drama starring Kate Winslet as a small-town detective investigating the murder of a teenage girl in Pennsylvania came to a dramatic conclusion on Monday (31 May).
*Spoilers for Mare of Easttown ahead – you have been warned!*
With the identity of Erin McMenamin’s real murderer uncovered, fans were confused to learn that author Richard Ryan (played by Pearce) was not involved in any way.
Ahead of the finale, many fans suspected that Pearce’s character had something to do with the murder simply due to the fact that it seemed unlikely that the award-winning actor (who starred in Memento and LA Confidential) would sign on to the project to play Mare’s love interest.
Creator Brad Inglesby has since cleared up the confusion, telling Vanity Fair’s Still Watching podcast how Pearce ended up playing the harmless part.
Richard was originally supposed to be played by British stage and screen actor Ben Miles who, although having starred briefly on The Crown and BBC’s Coupling, would not be a familiar face to HBO audiences.
However, following a couple months of shooting in 2019, both Miles and director Gavin O’Connor were replaced. Pearce and Craig Zobel stepped in, respectively.
Inglesby revealed that they managed to cast the 53-year-old because Winslet (who starred with Pearce in 2011’s Mildred Pearce) asked him a favour.
“Kate had the idea because they had worked together before. She said, ‘Listen, it’s an easy call I can make. We’ll see if Guy would be interested,’” recalled Inglesby.
Pearce confirmed the story to ET, stating: “To have Kate call me and say, ‘I’m doing a show. You have to come and play this role. This is the story. This is the connection between the two characters.’ I just go, ‘Well, yes.’”
Speaking about the fan speculation over Pearce’s character in the series, Inglesby agreed that the casting was an “accidental red herring” and said he “understands the suspicion”.
“I’ve read a bunch of theories online about Guy, but he was always written as a character that would just come in and be a sort of light in Mare’s life,” he said.
“He came into her life at this very challenging time and he helped her get through it and he was always only that.”
Inglesby also opened up on why Richard exits the series midway through the finale.
“Sometimes that’s the way relationships go,” he said. “Not everything is, you know, a hundred years later, we’re still together.
“Sometimes someone comes into your life and they help carry you through a particular time and that’s beautiful too. It doesn’t have to last forever to mean something.”