Julianne Moore Says Her Horror Series 'Lisey's Story' Is a 'Metaphor for What a Marriage Means'

The actress talks about her role in Apple TV+'s Stephen King adaptation and why she was "so excited" to take on the new genre

Julianne Moore in “Lisey’s Story"
Photo: Apple TV+.

Julianne Moore may not be known as a horror queen, but that unexpected twist is one of the things that attracted the actress to her latest role, in the Apple TV+ adaptation of Stephen King's Lisey's Story.

On the PEOPLE Every Day podcast, hosted by Janine Rubenstein, the actress and author, 60, says she jumped at the chance to star as a widow reeling from the loss of her successful novelist husband and slipping into a dark world while she tries to sort through his things.

"Well, the thing that of course piqued my interest right away was that it's a Stephen King novel, and I was so excited because I'm such a big fan," said Moore.

She also loved the unique approach to a Hollywood love story.

"It's a story about a relationship, a long and successful marriage between a couple. And I feel like that's so rare in entertainment. Whenever we have love stories, it's usually about, 'How am I going to meet somebody? Am I going to get married? Oh, look, I got married!' The End," she said. "And for most of us, I think we know that that's really only the beginning when you're in a relationship. Marriage can be long and complicated and eventful, but what you share with that person and that the world that you build with them and each other's secrets that you hold. That's what a marriage is."

Julianne Moore and Clive Owens in “Lisey’s Story,”
Apple TV+.

Throughout the course of the show, the couple's relationship is revisited through multiple stages in their life — as well as in a supernatural realm they can visit together — adding to the surreality of her character's experience.

"That was actually one of the things I really loved about it, is there are four timelines," she says. "There's the current time. There's about seven years earlier in their marriage. And then you go back to when they met, and then when they were first dating, and then they got married. And then you go back to when they were children. And some of these timelines actually exist, and then some of these timelines are what is remembered by Lisey while she's in another timeline."

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Moore says she's not "not a big slasher fan" (in fact, she finds blood-and-gore horror "kind of boring") but loved the opportunity to take on psychological horror with King, the master of the genre.

"It's like when you have a monster in a kid's book," Moore says of the show's twisty plotline. "The child's afraid of the monster. The monster is usually representative of that child's anxiety. So, in a sense, I think Stephen uses horror as this kind of beautiful metaphor."

Julianne Moore and Clive Owens in “Lisey’s Story,”
Apple TV+.

Moore's onscreen husband is played by Clive Owen, but in real life, she has been married to director Bart Freundlich for 25 years. He gave the series his stamp of approval ("Bart saw the first episode with me and he thought it was absolutely beautiful," she shares) but Moore says their kids together, Liv and Caleb, haven't weighed in.

"One's at college and one's in grad school, so they're doing their own thing. But hopefully they'll watch it," she says, before adding, "I've never encouraged them to watch anything that I've done. I always feel like your kids aren't interested [in you as a] parent. Nobody ever wants to go to their mom's office!"

Check out more from Julianne's interview on PEOPLE Every Day, airing now on iHeartMedia, Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Lisey's Story is streaming on Apple TV+. New episodes are released on Fridays.

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