The trio, speaking at HBO’s virtual press tour, discussed why it was being pitched as season four, the diversity of the cast and why it moved from New York to Los Angeles.
The Orange Is The New Black star also revealed the challenges of playing therapist Dr. Brooke Taylor.
“This is easily one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had in my life, hardest things I’ve ever worked on in terms of preparation,” she said. “I’m in every scene and everyone in this show is working so hard and so intensely and delivering. It is also one of the most satisfying, fulfilling experiences I’ve also ever had. This project came into my life in a time that was needed and has brought an excitement and energy, there’s a thrill when you go to work. It stretches you, it’s growing me and I’m grateful for it.”
The original series, created by Rodrigo Garcia, ran between 2008 and 2010 with Gabriel Byrne as therapist Dr. Paul Weston. The new season has moved from New York to L.A. and is part of the team “updating” the series.
“As we approached reimagining the show we wanted to make sure to honor the original American version and also make sure that we were updating the show and making it feel like a show being made in 2021, whether that be through setting, sunny Los Angeles rather than a brownstone in New York, and also having a more diverse cast, we felt that was important,” said Schuur.
Allen added, “I come from a family of people who needed therapy and didn’t know they needed therapy. When I first started seeing my first therapist, my family said ‘You’re not crazy so why do you need a therapist?’. There’s such a stigma attached to it, particularly with [people of] color so it felt important to me personally to put that on television, to show that we all need this. I wanted to make sure we were expanding the idea of who gets access to therapy and understand the circumstances and try and destigmatize it. Especially in 2021, when we all need it. Diverse patient pool.”
Most shows when they are rebooted or “reimagined” start from season one, but Schuur and Allen said it was important for this to be season four. “We’re not trying to leave our predecessor in the dust, we are grateful to them, we admire that show in a myriad of ways. There was no way to start from scratch, we needed this to be season four,” she said.
Allen highlighted crossovers with the first three seasons, including the same wave machine in the therapist’s office. “We wanted to preserve the connective tissue between the first three seasons that everybody watched and loved into this season. There are so many ways that we’re honoring the first three seasons and not erasing that. We wouldn’t be here without that. That’s why it felt right to call it season four. Shows reinvent themselves, especially when they take a decade off, so we really wanted to make sure that people who loved and enjoyed the first three season, feel like there’s some connective tissue,” he added.
In Treatment, which returns to HBO in May, also stars Anthony Ramos as Eladio, who works as a home health aide for a wealthy family’s adult son, Liza Colón-Zayas as Rita, Brooke’s longtime confidant and friend who supports Brooke as she contends with her own demons after a life-altering loss, John Benjamin Hickey as Colin, a charming millionaire beach bum turned white-collar criminal reckoning with all the ways his life has changed following his recent release from prison, Quintessa Swindell as Laila, Brooke’s distrustful, teenage client, struggling to carve out her own identity separate from her family’s overbearing expectations and Joel Kinnaman as Adam, Brooke’s long-time on-again, off-again boyfriend who has resurfaced to create further complexity for her.
The show is produced by HBO Entertainment in association with Leverage, Closest to the Hole Productions and Sheleg. Executive producers are Allen, Schuur, Stephen Levinson, Mark Wahlberg, Hagai Levi, and Melissa Bernstein. Joanne Toll and Noa Tishby serve as co-executive producers.