We talked EXCLUSIVELY with the actors playing Lyle and Erik Menendez in ‘Law & Order True Crime.’ Even though the brothers murdered their parents, the actors admit they do ‘sympathize’ with them after learning what they went through.
Miles Gaston Villanueva and Gus Halper are playing Lyle, 49, and Erik Menendez, 46, in the new series Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders, which premieres Sept. 26 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. Lyle and Erik are famous for brutally murdering their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, in 1989. The case became a media and national obsession. The series, the latest in the Law & Order franchise, will dive deeper into the trial that shocked the world and the lives of the brothers. Despite the fact that the Menendez brothers shot and killed their parents, Miles and Gus revealed to HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY that in order to tell Lyle and Erik’s story, they embraced their side of the story.
“There is a difference between sympathize and empathize, but I think that if we didn’t sympathize with them we shouldn’t have done the project,” Miles told HollywoodLife.com at the show’s PaleyFest event on Sept. 11. “If after every scene or after work we are going ‘they didn’t get abused,’ and we dismissed it and were flippant about it that would be insulting to who they are and what they went through. I think we have to take them at their word.”
Gus added: “Nobody does something for no reason. Everyone has a reason for the things that they do and whether you agree with or not and say I would have done X, Y, and Z, there is always a reason for people’s actions, and at the end of the day that is what your job is, and we have to figure it out and internalize it.”
Both Erik and Lyle claimed during the trial that their parents had sexually and psychologically abused them growing up and that led to murder. The brothers received the sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Will the brothers be able to watch the show? Miles and Gus revealed that Lyle will definitely be watching from prison. “Someone asked him if it was going to be hard, and he said it would be painful, but it’s going to be good,” Miles told us. Gus chimed in and said Lyle is “excited” to watch the show. Miles continued, “He is excited to see it… So hopefully he watches, and there is some sort of… I mean it would be a gift if it was some sort of catharsis for him or if I represented him well. I hope he feels some empathy, and that it is believed that we shared the story accurately and with empathy since we are not poking fun. No one is assuming that they are liars and just murderers. There is so much more to their story.”
HollywoodLifers, are you going to watch Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders? Let us know!