When Steven Soderbergh originally approached filmmakers Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz for the cable TV version of his film The Girlfriend Experience, it was, in itself, an experiment – neither filmmaker knew or had worked with each other before. Luckily, the gamble paid off, and when the chance to collaborate came again, the pair not only took it, they also – as they explained during a visit to the Deadline studio – used it as a chance to switch things up again.

“We pitched the idea for the second season in February 2016,” said Kerrigan, “right after Sundance [where the Starz show premiered] and before Season 1 aired. And I think the idea was obviously to do – obviously contingent on Starz’s approval – two seasons, for Amy and myself, and then we would move on, and if the show was to continue, then Steven would find two filmmakers to take over. So in essence, we were looking at a two-season timeframe.”

The duo’s masterstroke was to split the show into two distinct, standalone storylines: Kerrigan’s is set during the 2018 midterm elections, and stars Anna Friel as the finance director of a Republican super-PAC who becomes involved with a GFE provider (Louisa Krause) as part of a nefarious honeytrap/blackmail plot. Seimetz’s strand has nothing to do with it. “It follows Bria,” she explained, “who’s played by Carmen Ojogo, and she has entered the witness protection program in exchange for a plea bargain – which in itself is a transactional relationship, so to speak, because she has to testify – and she moves to a remote location in New Mexico to escape a very abusive and dangerous ex.”

Watch the video above to find out more.

Deadline Studio at TIFF 2017 is presented by Calii LoveWatford GroupPhilosophy Canada, and Equinox. Special thanks to Dan Gunam at Calii Love for location and production assistance; and Ontario Camera for equipment assistance. Video producer: Meaghan Gable; lighting and camera: Neil Hansen; design: Dialla Kawar; sound recording: Ida Jokinen.