Be afraid—be very afraid—of the man you meet in your freshman chemistry class. Or, anyway, something like that seems the intended message of Tell Me Lies, the upcoming Hulu series adapted from Carola Lovering’s 2018 novel as part of Emma Roberts’ first look deal with the streaming service. The series is poised to closely follow the notoriously sexy source material, deemed “a chemical reaction, exploding with sex, drugs, and all things that make a relationship toxic.” Whether Hulu hopes Tell Me Lies will become its answer to Netflix’s You or its own beast entirely remains to be seen, but the show’s new trailer leaves little to the imagination. Expect sex. Expect tragedy. Expect unhealthy relationship dynamics glamorized for the sake of television spectacle. Here’s what else we’re expecting so far.
What’s the plot?
The story covers eight years in the life of a young Long Island native named Lucy Albright, who arrives on her small college campus in Southern California wanting to leave a traumatic relationship with her mother behind. There, she meets a young man named Stephen DeMarco, who is both a “manipulative jerk,” per the book, and the one thing Lucy can’t seem to give up. (Sound familiar?) They start off with your average young-adult romance, but then things “quickly fall into an addictive entanglement that will permanently alter not only their lives, but the lives of everyone around them,” or so Hulu promises.
As showrunner Meaghan Oppenheimer put it to Cosmopolitan, “When Lucy meets Stephen she sees all the red flags, but she ignores them—and it sets her down a path that completely derails her.”
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Grace Van Patten of Nine Perfect Strangers will be taking on the role of Lucy, playing opposite Mrs. Fletcher’s Jackson White. Lucy is described as superficially appearing to be “a sheltered but well-adjusted girl from an affluent Long Island town” who is labeled as the “Ice Queen” by her peers. Really, she feels disconnected from them by childhood events that make it hard to connect. Stephen seems to be a classic bad boy archetype, with dangerous charm and the ability to read people—with a “dark side.” Classic.
Who’s behind the project?
In addition to Roberts, the book is being adapted by Meaghan Oppenheimer, who will also be serving as showrunner and executive producer under the Belletrist TV production company established by Roberts. Other executive producers from Belletrist include Karah Preiss and Matt Matruski, but Laura Lewis and Stephanie Noonan of Rebelle Media, as wekk as Vice Studios’ Shannon Gibson and Sam Schlaifer from Refinery29, are also on board. Lovering will be consulting on the project.
Is there a trailer?
Indeed. And it’s exactly as dimly lit and moody as a dark romance deserves.
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When’s the release date?
The series premieres on Hulu September 7, 2022, with the following episodes expected to drop on subsequent Wednesdays.
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is an associate editor at ELLE, where she covers news and culture.