Poker Face: Rian Johnson and Natasha Lyonne Break Down Charlie's Special Gift

The first four episodes of Poker Face are now streaming on Peacock, and the new mystery series sees Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale, a woman who has the ability to tell when people are lying. When her best friend is murdered in the first episode of the series, Charlie starts to use her talent to uncover the truth, and it leads her on a cross-country journey of crime-solving. In a recent interview with Variety, Lyonne and series creator Rian Johnson broke down just how Charlie's special gift works.  

"We had to define this really clearly for ourselves and the rules that we landed are, she can tell if someone says something out loud that they know is an intentional lie," Johnson explained. "If someone says something that's untrue, but they think that it's the truth, that will read as truth to her. It's entirely just if someone says something that's a lie. The interesting obstruction with that is, how do you do a mystery series where someone has that gift and the show isn't over in five minutes?"

"We certainly toyed with the idea that, oh, every time it's a twitch or a flicker or a close-up or something," Lyonne added. "And it just ultimately seems sort of, not so much silly, but potentially short-sighted. If this was a character that was going to live in all situations and, arguably, if she'd been this way ever since she was a kid, she would have figured out a way to almost hide it. If somebody bites their nails, they sort of figure out how to hide their fingernails or something, they put their fingers in their fists, or you don't see them on the table. In that way, I think Charlie would have learned how to circumstantially navigate it in all situations, but just sometimes really still can't help herself or just kind of says it and calls it like she sees it because the stakes aren't that high. Or, she sometimes finds that she says it in a situation where it was really bad that it was a reflex."

"We haven't done that," Johnson revealed when asked if Charlie ever gets stumped in the first season. "We've tried to stick very closely to, if there's a lie said out loud, she's going to clock it ... The one thing that we've thought about, but have not done this season, but we might do down the line, is some version of a person who's like kryptonite to her. Someone she can't read at all and she's conscious of the fact that she can't."

Who Guest Stars in Poker Face?

Poker Face features big guest stars such as Adrien Brody, Angel Desai, Audrey Corsa, Benjamin Bratt, Brandon Michael Hall, Charles Melton, Chelsea Frei, Cherry Jones, Chloë Sevigny, John Darnielle, Clea DuVall, Colton Ryan, Danielle MacDonald, Dascha Polanco, Ellen Barkin, Hong Chau, Jasmine Aiyana Garvin, Jameela Jamil, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Judith Light, Leslie Silva, Lil Rel Howery, Luis Guzmán, Megan Suri, Niall Cunningham, Nicholas Cirillo, Nick Nolte, Reed Birney, Rhea Perlman, Ron Perlman, Rowan Blanchard, S. Epatha Merkerson, Shane Paul McGhie, Simon Helberg, Stephanie Hsu, Tim Blake Nelson, and Tim Meadows.

The first four episodes of Poker Face are now on Peacock, and the fifth episode drops on February 2nd.