Andrew Garfield & the ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ Cast on the Grim True Story (VIDEO)
Faith, fundamentalism and generational trauma make for a horrifying mix in FX on Hulu’s top-notch true-crime miniseries Under the Banner of Heaven. Based on Jon Krakauer’s 2003 best seller of the same name and headlined by It-boy Oscar-nominee Andrew Garfield, the story chronicles the investigation into the 1984 murder of Mormon Brenda Lafferty (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and her infant daughter, while recounting the violent origins of religious leader Joseph Smith’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Fascinating, and surely infuriating to LDS practitioners, the series is a grim look at how any belief taken too far can have devastating results as two mismatched Utah detectives (played by Garfield and an immensely likable Gil Birmingham) piece together the homicide. Ultimately, the evidence leads them to Brenda’s own family members and a radicalized sect of the religion that rocks the very foundation of Garfield’s Jeb Pyre.
“What does he do?,” asks the tick, tick…Boom! star. “Does he pursue the truth and in so doing, unwind the history of his church and therefore his own history…the connection he has to life through his wife and his mother and community at large?” Noting that Jeb has everything to lose, Garfield goes on to say that the detective’s goal is “to serve the truth and honor” the lives of the two murder victims.
We recently spoke with Garfield, Birmingham and Jones, along with costars Sam Worthington (who plays Brenda’s brother), Chloe Pirrie (his silenced sister-in-law) and Tyner Rushing (who appears in copious flashbacks as Joseph Smith’s wife, Emma) about bringing such a sad story to the screen and what it tells us about man’s ability to weaponize God. “It wasn’t really a Whodunnit because you can Google it and it’s inspired by the book,” explains Worthington. “It’s more intriguing that it’s a Whydunnit? Why did this happen and how did this happen in such a loving and pious community?”
Under the Banner of Heaven, Thursdays, FX on Hulu