Bronwyn Rojas is the perfect student, but even she can’t figure out where this Simon mystery is headed. The next 3 episodes of One Of Us Is Lying drop October 14 on Peacock, and the show will continue to explore the secrets Bronwyn has been trying to hide as she tries to solve Simon’s murder.
Marianly Tejada spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about the importance of her character when it comes to Latinx representation on TV. Naturally, we had to discuss Nate and Bronwyn’s growing bond and why book fans are so invested in their relationship. Read our Q&A below:
What was it about Bronwyn that really drew you in?
Marianly Tejada: What I first read was the pilot before I even read the book. I didn’t really know much about Karen’s books until the project came about, and then I remember reading the pilot. There was something just so special about Bronwyn and Nate’s relationship because that’s what I got to audition with. Also, as a Latinx actor in the business, it’s just so great to see such a complex and important character in a story. She’s a big part of not only solving the murder mystery, but her and Maeve I think are just incredible Latinx characters that you find in the show and in the book. So that was the first thing, and then as soon as I knew I had the part… I didn’t want to read the book before then because I didn’t want to jinx it. I was already really attached to the project based on what I knew. I ran out of that casting office and read the book. I was just so grateful and honored to have been cast to play her because I think Karen did such an amazing job at writing complex human beings that we might see as your high school archetypes, but there’s just so much more to them than meets the eye. And to get to expand on Bronwyn has been such a pleasure and an amazing thing as as an artist.
What was that first impression like with Cooper van Grootel? Bronwyn and Nate’s dynamic is so key to making this whole show work.
Marianly Tejada: It’s really funny because I knew he had been cast. When I heard I was screen testing for the role, I just started Googling to try to find out about this actor. I think I found like a really old interview out on YouTube and I was like, oh my God, he’s so perfect for the role. I think he actually texted me and the other actor who was going to screen test for Bronwyn and he’s like, “I just want to let you know that I’m really excited.” He sent the nicest message, I think, the day before, and then I’m like, should I text him and be like, “Hey let’s grab coffee or something?” Just so I can see what he’s about and potentially help us out. I think he was busy, but sure enough, the next day I show up to the casting office and he was there early. We had a little time to chat. Honestly, it was an immediate sense of friendship. I think that casting director Gayle Pillsbury and Jennifer Morrison and the producers who were involved in the casting process were just brilliant at it because just the pairing that they did in the show in general, but especially with Cooper and myself. I feel like everything else just came super easy from that point on because it was honestly effortless and just super natural. We just had so much fun in that read-through, and from then on it’s been the same thing.
It’s so great to see that you both vibe and get along so well similarly to your characters by the end of the story. That’s so important for a project like this that hinges on these four core people.
Marianly Tejada: For sure, and I think that’s one of the most special things about this show is that we genuinely just are friends in real life and that chemistry… As great of an actor as you are there’s just the chemistry and a likability that you have to have with your fellow actors. When it’s there, it’s undeniable. I think people are really going to just pick it up in the show.
With this being 8 episodes versus the book, what can you say about what we’re going to get to explore more of with Bronwyn now that we have much more time with her?
Marianly Tejada: I think that there is a fine balance that the writers have done brilliantly of keeping the book’s essence in the show. Also, there’s a little bit of plot twists and new things in the plot and for the characters. I don’t think I can elaborate too much because I might get in trouble, but I’m really excited for people to see the friendships that flourish in the show that maybe are not seen in the book or there’s a hint to them in the book, but now you really get to see them more.
With Nate and Bronwyn, we get to spend a little more time with them. Will fans be satisfied with what they see of this relationship being portrayed on screen?
Marianly Tejada: I honestly have a hard time not setting expectations for people, but I just feel so confident and so good about what I’ve gotten to see from the show so far. I think they’re going to be happy.
Why do you think people are so drawn to that dynamic between them?
Marianly Tejada: Thank you for that question because it’s one of my favorite ones. As I get to think more about her process and the scripts that we have gotten, I think Bronwyn and Nate are two very strong individuals. This is a show where the nerd has some sass and strength. She doesn’t shy away from that. She knows that that’s her strength, and she’s not going to let anyone make her feel bad about it so owning that and Nate, on the other hand, is also a super strong individual. You have them be so attracted to each other because they’re so opposite, but after this very traumatic event that they experienced together, they find a space where they can be vulnerable with each other and also strengthen each other to go about this crazy chaos that is their lives since the death of Simon. I think they’re very protective of each other as well and that’s just so compelling to see two people care for each other in a very truthful and deep way.
There is an inherent trust between them, even from the beginning, and that really carries through at the end of the day. They both ultimately know the other didn’t do it.
Marianly Tejada: I think especially Bronwyn because Nate has had a record with the police before. He’s the troubled character. She knows that if she doesn’t go to lengths to defend him that he could really just be in real trouble.
Another core aspect of Bronwyn is her relationship with her sister Maeve. Willl we get to dive deeper into that relationship?
Marianly Tejada: One hundred percent. I absolutely adore Melissa Collazo, who plays my little sister. She’s an incredible actor and just gave me so much. I will say that probably some of my favorite scenes in the show were with her just because there’s that very sisterly dynamic. Maeve is also very, very strong in this show. She has her own personality and her own life that I’m really excited for people to get to see as well. Also, there are some fiery things in there as well between them.
With Bronwyn, what was it like exploring the pressures of a high school girl, especially one of color, and the expectations placed on her to be at the top of her class?
Marianly Tejada: I think that what I love most about exploring those things is that you have her parents who are immigrants. They have had to work really, really hard to be successful, and they are successful. So the fact that they reached a certain level of success, there’s more pressure for Bronwyn as a daughter of two successful immigrants to just work hard and almost exceed what they’ve done and accomplished. And then there’s the side of Maeve, who’s in remission from cancer and has overcome a terminal illness. I think Bronwyn’s heart is definitely Maeve, and a lot of the strength of her comes from Maeve overcoming cancer. She’s like, I can literally do anything that I set my mind to. She’s the strongest person in my life. If she did that, what can’t I do? But then she really thinks that she can do it all, and that’s where the troubles begin and the little cracks start appearing because she’s not perfect, and she should know that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to not have everything together all the time. She really takes that role of the older sister very seriously and to prove to her parents that she could also carry on the legacy of the Rojas.