Naomi Watts and ‘Watcher’ Co-Stars on Why There’s a ‘Real Appetite’ for Ryan Murphy’s True-Crime Dramas

The premiere of Ryan Murphy’s latest true crime Netflix series, “The Watcher,” comes on the heels of the huge success of his “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.”

“The Watcher” is a haunting limited series based on the real-life, unsolved mystery about a family being stalked in their home. “I think there’s a real appetite for it right now,” star Naomi Watts told Variety at the show’s New York premiere at the Paris Theater on Wednesday. “I’m trying to figure out what it is, but I can theorize. But these are really dark, chaotic things going on in the world right now. I think you want to understand why these things happen and who would you be and how would you cope.”

Murphy made a photos-only appearance on the carpet while his cast talked to the press. “You trust [Murphy] because he has done so much great work before,” Watts said. “He creates such an exquisite world. His aesthetics are so powerful. And you know, I love how there’s an archness sometimes. There is humor, as well as jam-packed fantastic characters as well.”

While “The Watcher” is a haunting limited series based on the real-life unsolved mystery about the stalking of a New Jersey family, the sinister adaptation of a New York Magazine story doesn’t come with the controversy that the Evan Peters-led “Dahmer” has stirred up. Some family members of Dahmer victims have spoken out about the series re-traumatizing them.

Acknowledging recent interviews with loved ones sharing their pain and suffering, “The Watcher” actor Henry Hunter Hall was sensitive about the emotional ties. “I just hope I don’t trigger anyone,” Hall stated. “I know ‘Dahmer’ triggered some people that were involved, and I don’t want to trigger anyone. But I want people to watch as well.”

Despite the backlash, “Dahmer” remains one of the streamers most-watched English-language series of all time. Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos spoke about Murphy while introducing the screening. “Ryan paints on every canvas we give him,” he told the audience. “He does a beautiful job and we’re so thrilled.”

Cannavale on the red carpet earlier said the “American Horror Story” showrunner at the end of the day is just wanting to produce a show that captivates an audience. 

“There’s no committee approach. It’s his vision and his aesthetic,” he reflected. “I think Ryan has got his finger on the pulse of a lot of things that we’re thinking about.”

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