It’s difficult to believe that a director or a producer would keep anything from the cast of a show, isn’t it? That sounds pretty counterproductive since actors need to know what to expect and what they’re supposed to be doing in order to be as prepared as possible. But there are times when directors keep secrets from their actors and there are various reasons for doing so. It could be to add suspense, to keep spoilers from ruining an episode or an entire arc, or it could just be that they want to have fun and see if they can surprise the hell out of the cast. The trick to doing this though is that whatever secret is being kept really needs to be important and pertinent to the show, otherwise it just becomes silly and kind of pointless. With so many leaks when it comes to various TV shows these days however it’s sometimes very necessary for directors to not share as much as they possibly can with the cast, even if this kind of works against the need for good communication skills that should be promoted between the director and their cast.
Here are a few times when the cast of a show was kept in the dark or had to cover up a storyline.
No one on the Twin Peaks cast knew who killed Laura Palmer.
Who killed Laura Palmer was a tense issue for a lot of people since no one on the cast knew who had been written in as the killer, and those that knew weren’t telling. Whoever did kill her was possibly in danger of being written off the show, not out of spite obviously, but because this would have been the only way to really keep the story capable of making any sense. But once the reveal was finally given to the actor whose character was the killer it was stated that his character had always been the killer. Just imagine how that might have affected the actor that was so afraid of what this might mean.
Kit Harington had to lie about Jon Snow’s death.
This actually tore Harington up a bit since he had to lie to the rest of the cast and those that he was closest to, which is never a great idea. But the whole idea of saying that Jon Snow was absolutely dead was to cover up any possible leaks. One can say with some certainty that it didn’t work anyway since Game of Thrones was known for employing magic when necessary, and letting go of such a key character at that point in the story would have been nearly impossible since a lot of fans would have probably stopped watching. But there was no help coming from the author since George R.R. Martin was having a hell of a time completing the story.
The actors that played Cylons on Battlestar Galactica weren’t allowed to reveal that they were playing Cylons until the last second.
Well, maybe ‘last-second’ is pushing it since a couple of them had knowledge of this beforehand, but they couldn’t exactly go telling anyone since it was supposed to be a secret. But something like this is kind of a tough secret to keep, especially when it’s found out ahead of time on accident. The twist that came in season three on this show was something that a couple of actors had knowledge of beforehand, but the revelation to the rest of the cast was something that was obviously kind of a shock and probably didn’t come without a bit of disbelief, which was quickly dispelled.
Nobody knew who was wearing the mask in Scream.
It sounds kind of awkward for an actor to not know that they’re the killer in a show such as Scream since it would imply that a stuntperson or a stand-in was acting behind the mask the entire time. But when Piper was revealed just before the final episode it came as a surprise to everyone. Seeing as how this show didn’t really attain the same kind of popularity as the movies it’s easy to see why some folks might have forgotten, but at the same time, it still feels that springing this on someone is kind of a rough way to go.
The Shameless cast didn’t know that Jimmy was returning.
Jimmy was supposedly dead if you remember by the end of season 3, and he didn’t show up again until the end of season 4 under a new name. But the actor was flown to the location and kept in a different hotel from his costars so as to surprise them, and it worked beautifully since the look of shock on their faces and their reactions on social media were brilliant. It’s kind of funny what happens when the cast doesn’t know what’s coming.
Sometimes keeping a secret is hard, but it can be worth it.