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

Variety - - Contents - Story by CYNTHIA LIT­TLE­TON Pho­to­graphs by SHAYAN ASGHARNIA

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.


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