The violence we see against women is related to the violence we do to ourselves looking for … that ideal of beauty that will make us lovable and precious.”
“Dietland” showrunner Marti Noxon, with star Joy Nash
With her new AMC series ‘Dietland,’ showrunner Marti Noxon is waging a war on behalf of women everywhere
The veteran showrunner- director is hip- deep in filming the finale of her new AMC drama “Dietland,” one of two high-profile series Noxon is shepherding this year, along with HBO’S Amy Adams-starrer “Sharp Objects.”
Based on the 2015 novel by Sarai Walker, “Dietland” is a satirical call to arms, as inventive and out there as it is provocative and irreverent. It turns on issues of female empowerment, body-image concerns, rape culture and the rising level of organization as women demand equity in boardrooms and bedrooms. These topics have been in the headlines for months, although not nearly so much when Noxon first chased after the book rights two years ago.
There probably won’t be much indifference to the Skydance Entertainment/ AMC Studios production when “Dietland” premieres on June 4. People are either going to love it or hate it.
“I love that ‘Dietland’ is a reach. It’s a bold show. It’s a daring show,” says David Madden, president of original programming for AMC, Sundancetv and ity machine,” or the cultural pressure exerted on women who are not naturally rail-thin and drop- dead gorgeous. The revolutionary part comes in the storyline, which Noxon freely admits is a “feminist revenge fantasy” that asks why women don’t fight back — with violence — when faced with sexual harassment and assault.
“I want to make ‘Fight Club’ for women,” she quips.
BACK IN LATE MARCH, AS THE DAY’ S work at Broadway Stages on the border of Queens and Brooklyn wears on into the afternoon, and with only a few days of principal photography left to go on Season 1, Noxon’s focus is a tender love scene in bed between Nash and actor Adam Rothenberg. Juggling directing and showrunning duties, the petite Noxon — clad in a loose gray sweatshirt and baggy green sweatpants — takes a is recruited by a band of feminist assassins — led by the heiress to a weight-loss pyramid scheme — who embark on a protest murder spree of prominent men accused of sexual misconduct, and worse.
Walking around the set, it’s impossible not to notice the number of women working on the show, from crew members to the DP, Alison Kelly. Noxon had to invent a few male characters not in the book to bring a little balance to the gender equation.
“I like men,” she says. “I really didn’t want the show to reflect a world where men weren’t a part of this struggle.” Behind the scenes, Noxon has long worked to open doors for women on the set, particularly in nontraditional areas like cinematography and crew positions. “It was my first time ever working with a female DP,” Margulies notes.
All told, “Dietland” has been a consuming passion for Noxon. Even as she juggled other demanding projects, she directed the first two of the series’ 10- episode order as well as the finale.
DEEP INSIDE A BRICK-WALLED SOUNDSTAGE ON A CHILLY MARCH DAY IN QUEENS, MARTI NOXON IS STARTING A REVOLUTION.