Jessica Biel On Nine Years Of ‘The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea’

Jessica Biel returns to the silver screen in The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, a drama from friend and director Bill Purple, which, as Jessica tells it, took nearly nine years to bring to fruition. Now, as the drama is set for its worldwide premiere, Ms. Biel talks about the process of making The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and about bringing Justin Timberlake in on the project.

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Took Jessica Biel And Bill Purple On A Journey Of Their Own

If you’re looking for the creative forces behind The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, look no further than Jessica Biel, who takes on both starring and producing roles, and Bill Purple, who, in addition to being the drama’s executive producer, directed and co-wrote (with Robbie Pickering) the film. Biel and Purple have been dedicated to the project for nearly nine years, according to the actress, and it was their willingness to be patient that helped them to create the perfect project in The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

The film, which debuted last week at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, tells the story of Millie (Maisie Williams), a destitute teen determined to build a raft, so she can see the world, and of recently widowed Henry (Jason Sudeikis), who finds new hope in helping Millie build her raft. Jessica Biel is seen in flashbacks, as Henry’s wife, Penny. In the flashbacks, Penny is portrayed by Biel as a free spirit, pursuing her dreams of being an artist, when a car crash tragically claims her life.

“Bill and I have been friends for, I don’t even know how long now, a long time,” Biel says in beginning to describe how The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea came to be. “We’re just film buddies. We talk about film and care about film and he has always been writing and has always been wanting to direct.”

Jessica reveals that she met Bill through his wife, Michelle, as the two ladies started their own little production company, 10 years ago. The trio worked on one project at that time as a way of testing the waters and determining if they could work well together and Biel says she was immediately drawn in by Bill Purple’s talent and professionalism, as well as by his love for film.

“We did the short film together and I just love the way he directed it. I loved his vision and I trust his eye and I trust his creative abilities and, so once we did that and we had such a good experience, we just wanted to do something in the long form and that’s kind of initially how we got involved with, ‘OK, let’s find the right thing.’ We found this and then nine years later, we finally got the right people who actually wanted to do this with us.”

Jessica Hires Husband Justin Timberlake For The Film’s Soundtrack

Jessica wasn’t leaving anything to chance in producing her first full-length feature film, so, when it came time to find a composer for producing the soundtrack for The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, she looked no further than her own household. Biel says she knows Justin well enough to know that he doesn’t need to be micromanaged and that it’s actually better to let Timberlake do his own thing.

“He’s much better left to his own devices,” Biel shared. “I mean, I like to say that I was his boss, but I wasn’t really acting as his boss. So we had a good working relationship.”

Overall, Biel says she’s satisfied with The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, even though going back to work at her production company means balancing the duties of new mother and housewife with her career as an actress and now a producer.

“I so enjoy finding these stories and creating something that I have more of my stamp on as opposed to just giving a performance and crossing my fingers and hoping for the best,” Biel said. “To have a little of both worlds has been really cool for me and very fulfilling.”

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea will see a wider theatrical release later this year.

[Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]