Human language

Great Book, Creators, Global Reach – NBC New York

When veteran television producer Greg Berlanti was asked to adapt the novel “You” about a seductive charmer with a murderous streak, he immediately chose former “Supernatural” producer Sera Gamble as a collaborator.

It may sound “horrible”, but it was the opposite, says Berlanti.

Caroline Kepnes’ book had “all the great things I love about writing Sera. It’s luscious and addicting, but also very smart and intelligent, and has something to say about our culture, our society,” did he declare.

“You,” starring Penn Badgley as the violent and disturbed Joe, became a worldwide hit for Netflix after a low-key American debut on Lifetime. The drama, based on what has become a blockbuster novel series, is in the works for its fourth season. The release date has not yet been announced.

“It’s always so hard to predict how the TV is going to do while you’re doing it. It really feels like you’re in a little production bubble, ”said Gamble, co-creator and executive producer of the show with Berlanti. She is ready to dissect the success that she describes as exciting.

“I think part of the reason it appeals to people all over the world is that what we explore about love and obsession is completely universal and translates into all possible human languages,” he said. she declared.

“Everyone knows this feeling of wanting someone who maybe is bad for them, and wanting to know things that they are technically not supposed to know,” said Gamble, whose parents immigrated to the United States. United from Poland. “I don’t see why it would be any different in the United States than in India or Japan or wherever.”

How Joe pursues his hapless objects of desire through a mix of old-fashioned in-person harassment combined with spying and social media manipulation. This allows “You” to make hay at satirical pose of people online and their willingness to accept each other to the value of Facebook, among other modern habits.

Bela Bajaria, head of global television for Netflix, said the streaming service trusts producers Berlanti, whose many credits include “Riverdale”, “The Flash” and “The Flight Attendant” and Gamble (“Physical”, “The Magicians”), with series frontman Badgley (“Gossip Girl”).

“The scripts had a really loud voice and (the story) had a really good thriller engine,” Bajaria said. “With Penn’s voiceover it was very distinct and very entertaining, and we felt like it would work globally. “

Last fall, the season three release of “You” was No.1 for four weeks in Netflix’s 10 best shows tally, spending a total of eight weeks on the roster which also repeatedly included seasons one. And two. The show was in the company of “Maid” and “Tiger King 2”.

For Berlanti, who received a copy of Kepnes’ novel in 2014 from producer Warner Bros., the book sold as a TV project.

“I devoured it in one weekend, and that was just when people were starting to do binge shows, or at least talk about binging shows,” he said. He concluded that viewers would jump with equal enthusiasm on a show that took the concept to the next level. But he needed to team up with what he called “the right person”.

Enter Gamble, who remembers Berlanti presenting the book to her with the promise that she “would understand from the first pages why it was so intense.”

“You’re placed right inside this guy’s head and you’re treated with all of his most private thoughts,” Gamble said. “There is something so brilliant about hearing perfectly honest, uncensored thoughts. Most of us who try to be polite and acceptable and make our way through the world, we think of all kinds of things.

Then came the critical task of finding an actor whose portrayal of the killer Joe could hold the audience’s sympathy against all odds.

Directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin will release their new documentary series on Netflix later this year.

“We had auditioned a ton of really fantastic actors for this role,” and had a short list of candidates to test out, said Gamble, the producer in charge of the series. Then word got out that Badgley might be interested.

“He’s been to the table as a TV star before, so the process is different for someone like him. It’s less about walking into a room full of people to audition, than sitting down with the creators and having a conversation, ”she said.

Badgley had doubts about portraying a character he found repugnant, Gamble said. But after a series of discussions, “we all realized that we were pretty much on the same page about why we wanted to explore Joe and why we wanted to do the show.”

“You,” with the comedic relief offered by satire, isn’t the dystopian nightmare of the Netflix hit “Squid Game”. But with its twisted protagonist and unfortunate endings, does it reflect the darker attitudes of the younger generations?

It’s a question that Gamble, herself a millennial, tackles from a creative perspective.

“I have these two impulses as an artist and they are in direct conflict with each other,” she said. “One is that I want to roll into romantic stories because I love them,” she said. a very strong impetus to take a critical look at all the ways in which our culture creates the conditions under which so much violence is inflicted on women. “

Making ‘You,’ Gamble said, ‘has been a process that has proven to us time and time again that they are incredibly connected.