Grazia (UK) - - 10 Hot_Stories - WORDS JANE MULKERR INS

WRIT­TEN by Gil­lian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl, and di­rected by Jean-marc Val­lée, the man be­hind Big Lit­tle Lies, it’s lit­tle won­der that HBO’S Sharp Ob­jects has been called the most ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated se­ries of the sum­mer. And that’s be­fore we’ve even men­tioned its stel­lar cast, in­clud­ing Amy Adams, Pa­tri­cia Clark­son and 19-year-old Aus­tralian star-in-the-mak­ing El­iza Scanlen.

There’s noth­ing re­motely fluffy about this heav­ily fe­male project. Adapted from Gil­lian’s de­but novel of the same name, it’s a dark, dis­turb­ing ex­plo­ration of ad­dic­tion, abuse and deep fam­ily dys­func­tion.

‘I’ve been at­tracted to Gil­lian’s work for years, be­cause she cre­ates these in­cred­i­bly flawed fe­males,’ says Amy. Her char­ac­ter in Sharp Ob­jects, Camille Preaker, is a chronic but func­tion­ing al­co­holic with a his­tory of self-harm. ‘ The ex­ter­nal man­i­fes­ta­tion of in­ter­nal pain,’ notes Amy, who wore pros­thetic scars cov­er­ing her en­tire body.

In the show, jour­nal­ist Camille, re­cently re­leased from a psy­chi­atric hospi­tal, is dis­patched to Wind Gap, the small Mis­souri town in which she grew up, to in­ves­ti­gate the mur­der of two young girls. But be­ing in Wind Gap means deal­ing with her mother, the neu­rotic Adora (Pa­tri­cia Clark­son), whose idio­syn­cra­sies in­clude pulling out her own eye­lashes in mo­ments of stress. ‘ There are a lot of bad moth­ers out there, and I’ve played a few, but this is some­thing dif­fer­ent – she is ex­tra­or­di­nary, and it brought me back to playing Blanche Dubois,’ says Pa­tri­cia.

Part of Adora’s ob­vi­ous in­sta­bil­ity is put down to hav­ing lost a child; Camille’s younger sis­ter, Mar­ian, died of an un­spec­i­fied and mys­te­ri­ous ill­ness when they were young. She now pours all of her highly-strung moth­er­ing into Amma, Camille’s 13-year-old half-sis­ter, played by El­iza Scanlen. ‘Adora’s over­bear­ing per­son­al­ity over­shad­ows Amma’s in­de­pen­dence, her free­dom of thought, her cu­rios­ity, and so she’s kind of left with no choice but to ex­er­cise that con­trol some­where else, and it just hap­pens to be with her friends,’ says El­iza. ‘And I think that in a small town these uni­ver­sal is­sues of power and trauma and abuse and men­tal ill­ness are in­ten­si­fied.’

Sharp Ob­jects has a strong sense of place – the fic­ti­tious Wind Gap, where the Mid­west meets the South, is a town where, as Camille ob­serves, ‘when some­one says, “Bless your Heart”, they mean “Fuck You”.’

‘Camille grew up in a hog-slaugh­ter­ing town, where her fam­ily’s money came from killing an­i­mals,’ says Gil­lian. ‘I don’t care how much money you have, or how much you talk about the cir­cle of life, it is steeped in death, and that does some­thing to you.’

‘It was re­fresh­ing to tell a story where the fo­cus was re­ally not on men,’ says pro­ducer Marti Noxon. ‘ Women have our own an­gry thoughts and our own vi­o­lence and com­pe­ti­tion, too.’ ‘ Sharp Ob­jects’, starts 2am, 9 July (re­peated 9pm, 9 July) Sky At­lantic

Top: Amy Adams with Chris Messina. Above: Pa­tri­cia Clark­son and El­iza Scanlen

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