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'The Resort' stars on making a show that 'rewards you for paying attention'

Cristin Milioti and William Jackson Harper were shocked by The Resort's many mysteries.

By Matthew Jackson
A still from Peacock's The Resort

Mystery shows thrive on little details that pay off in unexpected ways, and for the stars of The Resort, that was one of the key attractions. In fact, according to Cristin Milioti and William Jackson Harper, the new dark comedy now streaming on Peacock was so twisty that even they were surprised by some of the reveals. 

"We knew basically how things were going to go, at some point while shooting it, but we didn't know everything at the very beginning," Harper told Entertainment Weekly in a new interview celebrating the show's launch. "I do feel there's ways in which the story kind of takes some really surprising turns, that I just didn't predict. And there are characters that wind up interacting with each other in ways that you just would not expect. I was definitely surprised by it, and also surprised by how much heart there is in it, as well as all of the other stuff. It's not just a mystery, it's as much about people dealing with getting older and looking back at their youth, as it is about these other things that are going on. Yeah, it is surprising, in a lot of ways."

Created by Andy Siara, the series follows married couple Noah (Harper) and Emma (Milioti) as they head to a luxury resort for their 10th anniversary at a dark time in their relationship. The spark that once drove their connection seems to have gone out, and Noah and Emma are hoping that something about this trip might rekindle things. What they don't expect is to find an old cell phone connected to a disappearance at the same resort years earlier, a discovery that will propel them both into a mystery full of secrets, twists, and danger. 

For both stars, who were enthusiastic in talking about their own chemistry with both EW and on the San Diego Comic-Con stage last weekend, a key element of The Resort's appeal was and remains Siara's attention to detail. This is a show that, according to its stars, will make you want to second-guess every single scene, scanning for hidden clues that may or may not pay off.

"This is one of those shows that rewards you for paying attention," Harper said. "And so I don't want to give anything away, obviously, but it is one that you can watch very closely, and you might get ahead in a way that might be fun, or it might just leave something hanging where you're like, 'I feel like that was important to clock, but who knows?' And maybe it'll come back and surprise you. I think that's something that audiences… I'd like to think that they should expect that. But I feel like there's a lot of really interesting elements in the story, and it's not all laid out for you. Some of it is meant for you to just sort of clock and see if that actually matters or not."

Milioti added, "And I would say, too, that one thing to maybe keep in mind, again, without spoiling anything, is that the show you think it is in the first episode, nothing can prepare you for how different it is by the end. Which is also what was so exciting about it and intriguing about it as a project. You'll never see what's coming. And not in your wildest dreams would you be able to be like, 'I bet this happens.' None of what you think is going to happen, will happen. And I cannot repeat that enough."

The first three episodes of The Resort are now streaming on Peacock.