Showtime’s Golden Globe winning drama series The Affair has set a rendez-vous with the UK thanks to Sky Atlantic which will air the first season exclusively beginning this May. Sky has also taken rights to the recently announced second season of the drama that stars Dominic West and Ruth Wilson, both of whom are in fact British. They were each nominated for a Golden Globe this year with Wilson winning for Best Actress In A TV Series, Drama for her role.
Playwright and writer/producer Sarah Treem created the series with Hagai Levi and both are executive producers. The pair first worked together on the HBO adaptation of Levi’s Israeli series Be Tipul, which became In Treatment. They were in Jerusalem earlier this week to close the INTV conference with a chat about their collaboration on both shows. In Treatment this year is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its sale to HBO.
Treem, whose credits also include House Of Cards, said the male/female dynamic is one of the things that really intrigues her about The Affair. For Levi, “It was a dream for once to go into a woman’s head to know what she thinks.”
The show, which explores the emotional and psychological effects of an extramarital affair is told separately, Rashomon-style, from the male and female perspectives. For inspiration, “We watched a lot of French films,” Treem said with a chuckle. Levi added they also watched Swedish movies, Scenes From A Marriage among them.
Writing something great “comes from really deep anxiety, an existential fear that the writer has,” Treem said, adding, “When I was writing the final draft of pilot, I was pregnant, I was unmarried and I was terrified.”
The first season is set in Montauk, on the eastern tip of Long Island, where Treem’s grandparents have a house. But I’m told the action in Season 2 will move away from the Hamptons and into New York City.
It is envisioned in three stages: the crush/bloom/romanticism/melodrama as the first part, followed by the second stage which is something else because the relationship has changed, and the third being something else, Treem said. They wanted to explore how “one love affair could encompass everything.”
The series is fairly graphic in its depictions of sex, and Levi told folks in Jerusalem that they realized early on that “sex is in the show’s DNA.” Treem said there will be “a ton” of sex in the second season. But, it’s also very important that the sex feel sexy. “There’s a lot of nudity on TV these days,” so the sexual relationship has to be “emotionally fuelled in a way that make it erotic.”
Also in Jerusalem, Treem said there was some skepticism at the beginning with people wondering how The Affair would work beyond one season. But she sees much more story to mine. “Our thought was always that the affair is the tip of the iceberg… Life doesn’t end when marriages end.”
Director of Sky Atlantic, Zai Bennett, said today, “I’m delighted we have secured The Affair for Sky Atlantic. Its intricate storytelling and phenomenal acting sit perfectly on the channel, further cementing our channel’s position as the home of quality drama in the UK.”
Treem is currently writing the second season.