Discussion of SundanceTV‘s new miniseries The Honorable Woman — a political thriller starring Maggie Gyllenhaal — began with a question about the girl who was cast as the young Nessa when she’s “darker” than Gyllenhaal. Apparently in the UK, where the show’s already debuted on BBC Two, it’s sparked some conspiracy theories — child-switching may be involved.
BAFTA-winning writer/director/producer Hugo Blick appeared to be unaware of the kerfuffle overseas, and said that when the young actress was cast she was “very much paler” than when she returned from a holiday, which they tried to correct in post — “but apparently not enough.”
As a great conspiracy died at birth, the press turned to their “How about all these substantive roles on TV for women — your thoughts?” question they like to pull out of their pocket whenever a woman who’s starred in movies comes before them at a TV Press Tour to talk about her TV project. In the project, Gyllenhaal plays a British woman who witnessed the assassination of her father, a Zionist arms procurer, grew up to head his company, which she transformed into a company that lays high spec data cabling networks between Israel and the West Bank, gets appointed to the House of Lords, and triggers an international political maelstrom
Janet McTeer, who was also on stage this afternoon — she plays Dame Julia Walsh in the miniseries — stepped up and spoke eloquently about watching a movie that has 1,700 parts for guys but just three women, who all have to be gorgeous and under 25. Walsh also is fed up with movie roles that require women to wear shoulder pads and talk and behave like men. Gyllenhaal admitted she likes wearing shoulder pads, but otherwise is on the same page. Blick jumped in to note the political thriller genre is inherently masculine, which is a genre he thought would be interesting to populate with a group of women.
TV critics wanted to know if, despite this being billed as an eight-part miniseries, there was a chance the franchise could continue, or spawn a spinoff. The question was understandable — FX calls American Horror Story a miniseries, as well as Fargo, and some people think HBO should have done same with True Detective.
“Part of the trust we offer the audience is that it’s THIS story,” Blick said, dashing critics hopes. “We’re not trying to wink and say ‘Maybe there’s another one.’ It’s got something profoundly engaging to say…because the conclusion it takes is final.”
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