The creators and stars of Shining Vale gathered at TCA on Thursday to tease their genre-bender, which is set to debut early next year, noting that its star Courteney Cox delivers a performance unlike any we’ve seen from her before.
“This character is…just rich and deep and I get to go into places I have never been before, and be raw and vulnerable,” the actress said. “I think I’ve worked harder on this than anything else, and want to continue to because I’m obsessed with it. I think it’s just unique in every way.”
The horror comedy series created by Jeff Astrof and Sharon Horgan centers on a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a small town, into a house in which terrible atrocities have taken place. But no one seems to notice except for unfulfilled matriarch Pat (Courteney Cox), who’s convinced she’s either depressed or possessed — turns out, the symptoms are exactly the same.
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Cox was joined on today’s panel by Astrof and Horgan, along with Greg Kinnear, who plays Pat’s husband Terry, and Mira Sorvino, who plays her unearthly alter ego, Rosemary. (Horgan Zoomed in from the UK, with the others joining from the Warner Bros. lot, where they’re finishing production on the season finale.)
A key theme throughout the panel was the deft tonal balance the series aims to strike. Astrof noted that it’s full of “easter eggs” referencing horror classics such as The Shining and Rosemary’s Baby. Of course, even its title is an homage to the former film.
Still, with his latest series, he and Horgan looked to break new ground. “Sharon and I set out very ambitiously to create a new genre of something very, very scary and really, really funny,” said Astrof.
A key point for Horgan in describing the show’s style is that its comedy is set apart from its scares. “We didn’t want the horror to bring any laughs. When the horror kicks, in we wanted it to be proper scary,” she said. “It’s a really obnoxious thing to say we created a new genre, but actually we did, and we achieved it.”
Cox, Kinnear and Sorvino later lauded the creators’ writing and the uniqueness of their vision. “The dialogue is fantastic. Every page is just laugh-out-loud when you’re reading it,” Sorvino said. “It’s so deftly, intelligently written that it really almost plays itself.”
“I love to be scared and love to laugh, and this is just such a unique combination of these two things, a genre I’ve never seen before,” said Cox. “It deals with family issues, infidelity, mental health issues. It was just rich and funny and great.”
“The story plays really, really nicely,” added Kinnear. “It’s a great ensemble, a great dynamic, and the idea of mixing the horror with the comedy has been really fun, to find that balance.”
Shining Vale’s cast also includes Sherilyn Fenn, Gus Birney, Dylan Gage, Merrin Dungey, Judith Light and more. Lionsgate and Warner Bros. Television co-produce the series in association with Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, Astrof’s Other Shoe Productions, and Horgan and Clelia Mountford’s Merman.
Check out the first-look photos from the series, released today by Starz, below.
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