Jessica Biel talks being a sinner as the second season of her Netflix show debuts.
What's it like being a producer instead of standing in front of the camera for season two?
It's very different. Actually, it was a little bit hard to swallow for a minute. It was hard to not be there every day with the cast, with the crew, working my heart out and all my emotions going on the table like I did last season.
How has your relationship with the word 'sin' or 'sinners' changed since making the show?
Well, it definitely brings up this idea that it's an ambiguous label, and in many ways, all human beings have been sinners at one point. We've all done things we are not proud of, we may not have treated people in ways that we are proud of. I also feel after doing this show that it has taken my judgement away when I hear that label or that phrase.
In the first season the emotional and physical burden was on you, but of course, you're an adult and can handle it. In this season it's on a 13-year-old kid - Elisha Henig - which is a huge responsibility.
Yes, it is a huge responsibility and it's something that we talked a lot about, and in casting Elisha, we had to find someone who has this ability to be wise beyond their years and somehow we still had to connect and relate to this young person. But as you can see, he's incredible. There were a lot of very challenging elements to fill in casting him.
Speaking of which, how did you come up with Bill Pullman as a casting choice?
Well, he's terribly talented. And Bill is someone who is also curious about life and interested in people. He isn't going to judge right away and that's very much what Harry Ambrose is like too. Looking back, working with him on season one, it was just such a joy. He's just so invested in everything he's doing and wants desperately to make his performance better if it's possible, which is what I always want to do.
You've said you'd like to direct – but that's very time consuming.
It's very time consuming. If I do direct, it might not be for a long time because having little kids around, I don't think you'd ever see your family, and that's challenging. But do I have the stamina? I think I do. When I put my mind to something I do it no matter what and I will get it done. I am going to kill myself in the process and never see my kid and get divorced. I am just kidding, but it's a lot of work and not the right time for me now.
Congrats on your five Emmy nominations this year. You must be especially proud given that The Sinner is your baby?
It is an amazing feeling. This project is something that we've seen from beginning to end and it's thrilling to be recognised for something that I am really proud of. I don't think actors work for awards, I definitely don't work for awards, and actually, I have never really gotten an award before! So, this is pretty great.
How good are you at balancing family life and work?
I am pretty good about it. I don't jump into work very easily or very quickly anymore, because I have a family now and I really do have to sacrifice my time with my son and my husband in order to work. And I am pretty good about that. I am really picky about material, and honestly, I just need to be so inspired to the point where I feel that I cannot not do the film or TV series.
You were in Amsterdam with the family not long ago. Was it a holiday?
Yes. It was so great. And we had an amazing time going to the park, bicycles everywhere, it was wonderful. I guess you could call it a vacation for me but Justin was touring there and so we were with him on tour.
Your mum is a spiritual healer – what has that given you?
A sense of calm, definitely. She's very unorthodox. When I was a kid and I was upset, it would always start with her saying, '"Deep breaths, calm down, stop for a second". She would never take me to the doctor unless there was an exposed bone or something like that (laughs) and we'd always try eastern medicine. She taught me to be non-reactionary and I'm grateful for that because I can absorb what's going on without having a big reaction to it. I might have that big reaction after I've absorbed it but in general, I'm pretty zen.
You grew up in Boulder, Colorado. Do you go home very often?
I don't go back very often, just because my family moved away. So when I go back to Boulder, it's very nostalgic, because it's very rare. And I also didn't get to spend any adult time there, so when I go back and it's literally memories of my youth, elementary school and my middle school. So my experience with it is very positive. Nothing hardcore happened at that point in my life, so it's a very idyllic experience for me.
• The second season of The Sinner is streaming on Netflix now.