Producer, writer and director Marti Noxon took the dais for the first keynote at SXSW, and she shared her very personal journey of sobriety and how it was translated in a trio of projects in what she likes to call her “Self-Harm Trilogy.” This includes the eating disorder pic To the Bone (her directorial debut), the eye-opening self-image dramedy Dietland, as well as the HBO adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. Last July, HBO’s president of programming, Casey Bloys, told Deadline that there are no plans for a second season of the Amy Adams-fronted mini-series. But during her keynote, Noxon said that there is more story to tell.
The miniseries focuses on Adams’s functioning alcoholic Camille, but it also shines some light on her pristinely controlling, tea-length dress-wearing mother, Adora (which won Patricia Clarkson a Golden Globe) and her sister. The miniseries gave us a taste of their story, but it feels like we have barely broken the surface on these complex characters.
“Maybe there will be a sequel. Maybe we’ll get to find out [more about Adora and Camille’s sister],” said Noxon. “Gillian and I have thoughts on it.”
She later said during the audience Q&A that she initially saw the adaptation of Sharp Objects as an ongoing series that not just focused on Camille, but the people and town of Wind Gap, and then it later became a limited series. With ideas being kicked around for a sophomore season, this may not be the end, because the world could definitely use more Adora.
Noxon went on to talk about her journey of sobriety, showing clips from her shows to enrich her very personal experience. She admits that she doesn’t see herself as a “tortured artist” and says that she had a huge headstart being born white and with privilege. She feels that care and attention to addiction should be available for everyone — not just rich screenwriters.
In addition to bringing complex — and what the industry calls “unlikable” women characters — who don’t normally get the attention to the screen, she aims to continue her crusade of representation and inclusion through narratives with people of color, the queer community, older women, people with disabilities, and other marginalized communities in the center. She hopes that, as a result, they will be seen by audiences who don’t normally see those kinds of stories.
“Hopefully, empathy can change our actions,” said Noxon.
Noxon’s impressive resume includes the cult series Buffy the Vampire, as well as the Peabody Award-winning UnREAL at Lifetime. Her other credits include Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce and Code Black for CBS, Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy, Brothers & Sisters, and Glee.