One of the last series produced by Jamie Tarses, who passed away this morning at the age of 56, was Amazon Prime Video’s The Wilds. It premiered when Tarses was in a coma following an early fall cardiac episode that ultimately led to her death.
The Wilds, Amazon’s first YA series, was a breakout hit and was quickly renewed for a second season. And while Tarses was not able to celebrate the show’s success, her input played a key part in it from the start.
Created by Sarah Streicher, The Wilds was originally ordered to pilot in the spring of 2018 as one of new head Jennifer Salke’s first greenlight decisions.
“I’d never had a pilot produced before, so I felt like a babe in the woods through every step of the development process,” Streicher recalls. “But Jamie had strength and wisdom to spare, and she gave of it so liberally, I always found my footing when I was with her. Her confidence in me was so resolute and relentless, I found I could survive off of it until I cultivated enough of my own. That’s part of what made her a superlative producer, and it has everything to do with what made her a beautiful human.”
Tarses executive produced The Wilds, about a group of teenage girls stranded on a deserted island after an airplane crash, with Streicher and Amy B. Harris who serves as showrunner.
The three worked closely together on the show every step of the way, from casting (Below are Tarses and Streicher, along with the pilot’s director/executive producer Susanna Fogel speaking with star Rachel Griffiths about the project for the first time) to overseeing filming in New Zealand (photos above)
“Jamie Tarses was a brilliant producer, fierce friend and the best of collaborators,” Harris says. “Her passion and determined strength shaped The Wilds and brought the entire team together.”
“She has been a driving and important force in my life personally and as my partner on this show. There is not a day that goes by that Sarah and I don’t think WWJT – What Would Jamie Think.”
“And that guides us as we move forward. She was so proud of the beautiful work we did, and the show’s success is one of her amazing legacies. But the most beautiful of all was the spectacular family she created with her husband, Paddy Aubrey. She was an icon. Period. End of story.”
Tarses will remain a part of the show she loved and helped so much as she will continue to be listed as an executive producer posthumously. She will be missed dearly by everybody on The Wilds who will remember her as a force of nature.
“She wore high heel ankle boots every day even when we were scouting the most wild and treacherous terrains – beaches, tide pools, overgrown forests, climbing up a cliff,” Harris says. “She stomped right through them all no problem. It was a metaphor for who she was – a petite badass forging her own path.”