Were there other films or series that you used as inspiration for the show?
Klute, The Conversation, All The President’s Men.
Was Riley attached to the project before you were, or did you and Lodge cast her? I know she was in another Soderbergh movie, Magic Mike.
Soderbergh told us to meet with her because, he said, “She is magnetic.” Lodge and I sat down with her and felt the same. Riley is so self-possessed and has such an odd sense of humor and acute perception of the world. It’s hard to deny her as a major talent.
Watching the 13 episodes, I kept wavering between feeling that what Christine was doing was empowering, and feeling like it was kind of sad. And it ends on a pretty ambiguous note. Do you have thoughts on this, or are you happy for viewers to feel confused or unsure about it? There is a kind of power in a woman who makes people uneasy or unsure how to feel.
As a filmmaker you choose to show—and more importantly to not show—moments to keep the audience with you on a journey. Both Lodge and I discussed and created a story line we thought would make viewers bring their own baggage to the experience. We play with all the tropes of what people would expect from this line of work and try to turn it on its head whenever possible. We never wanted to create a character that wins or loses according to the norm. We wanted to create a character that wins and loses on her own terms.
Without getting too graduate school here, I want to talk “gaze” for a minute. I like how Christine obviously gets off on watching herself get off, and watching other people watch her get off. But she’s so perfectly poised in her sex scenes, even when it’s just her alone, that it seemed more geared toward male than female viewers. Is that something you thought about when directing the sex scenes?
Lodge and I developed the entire show together, and have had extensive conversations about this. There is a performative aspect to sex and sexuality.
To feel complete, you need to fulfill the role, however momentary your desire is, of that fantasy. Sex is so personal. I am not one to tell anyone how to explore sexuality in a definite context. Filmmaking is a device to explore a subjective vision. I implore those who have a different take on this topic to pick up a camera and show us how wrong I am in depicting it. That’s how we progress.