HomeEntertainmentPaul Feig, 'Minx' EP, on HBO Max's cancellation and why he'd rather...

Paul Feig, ‘Minx’ EP, on HBO Max’s cancellation and why he’d rather launch shows on Linear TV – UnlistedNews

Last May, Ellen Rapoport’s workplace comedy Martha – which caused a bit of a stir thanks to its pilot episode’s parade of private parts – received a resounding show of support in the form of a season two renewal on Warner Bros. streamer Discovery, then called HBO Max. But in December, in the midst of a somewhat unprecedented money-saving effort led by WBD CEO David Zaslav, the platform (now dubbed simply Max) reversed course, canceling the show’s second season with just a week left on the show. shooting.

Martha‘s removal set off alarm bells in the live-action scripted space, which was canceled for tax purposes, as were a number of titles in the animated space earlier that year. It also marked an unsettling new era in the streaming era for creators and their teams, who now faced not only the standard renewal pitfall of shorter seasons and lower residuals, but also the possibility of their show being shut down. it will pull from a streamer with no place for it to be seen elsewhere.

It’s an issue that’s at the center of the ongoing Writers Union strike, which began May 1, as well as the ongoing SAG-AFTRA negotiations, which recently ran through July 12. Martha it was apparently part of this larger industry trend and certainly affected by the ongoing work stoppage, as Rapoport remained on strike with his fellow writers in the midst of the series’ second season press tour. But executive producer Paul Feig says the hollywood reporter that the beloved series, about the staff of a low-budget pornography publisher and the feminist who helps them launch a women’s erotic magazine, wasn’t exactly the story fans make it out to be.

In fact, even when news of the cancellation broke, Martha producer Lionsgate and members of the show’s creative team, including Feig, knew that several interested distributors were right outside their door, including Starz, the show’s current home. This wasn’t the first time either Martha he had to defy industry odds to make it to the screen.

Before the second season, Feig spoke with THR about the show’s initial battle to make it to the screen; what made its cancellation (and revival) typical and atypical for the industry; why he’s happy the show now exists on a linear channel; and why not only love MarthaThe focus of inclusion, but also its representation of sex and sexuality.

Martha It ended up being canceled while you were in production on the second season on HBO Max. before it was announced as being picked up by Starz. Its near-death was part of a broader trend of cutting network and platform costs last year, but this isn’t its first cancellation. did what happened with Martha Do you feel something new for you?

Yes and no. Every time a show gets canceled or canceled or whatever, there’s hope that it goes somewhere else, so that cheers you up a bit. Then, you’re dealing with the unfairness of that, but then there’s the acceptance. If I go all the way back to weirdos and nerds, it’s a critical show that had all these fans, but we were still the lowest rated show on NBC. It is very difficult for me to say: “How dare they!” You say, “Okay, I guess I see the business reasons.” And we’re in business, and the minute you don’t understand that show business is still business, you’re really setting yourself up for some serious heartbreak. It makes you think differently. At the same time, Martha it was always a phoenix. We couldn’t sell this show at all during the first season. We take it everywhere. I can’t tell you how many boardrooms we’ve been in (streamers, networks, everywhere) with [showrunner and creator] Elena [Rapoport] bringing giant piles of Playgirl magazines, placing them all over the table.

Everyone would laugh, we would look at them. We would leave things. She always said, “Well, who wouldn’t follow the show?” and no one would pick it up. They were just afraid of him for different reasons. Some, I think, because of the theme, some just because it was a ’70s show – we heard a million different reasons. So, we all walked away saying, “he’s dead,” and he was dead for months.

Then HBO Max came out of nowhere and said, “We want to do the show.” So, I’ll always give them credit for that, for doing that for us and then giving us a second season. Then when the show was pulled when we were only a week away from wrapping production, it was a real kick in the head. But I give them credit because they said, “But the season ends. Finish filming the show, finish publishing.” They could have easily pulled the plug if they were looking to save money, but they didn’t. And we knew that Starz were fans of the show, so it wasn’t a total rug pull. But at the same time, I’ve had that before. that happened with weirdos and nerds. mtv wants weirdos and nerds, but they want to do it for a quarter of the budget. It’s like, “Well, we can’t do that.”

He’s now with Starz, where he’ll get a linear and streaming component for his release. While these aren’t the days of Cancel Bear, it’s also now in an era where performance data is less transparent and there might not even be a show in a year. how important it is to have Martha in a linear channel for the second season for you?

That’s all. I mean, that’s all we’re looking for. I’ve always said that I’d rather sell a show to QVC, be the first scripted show on QVC, than get a cool streamer that no one has ever heard of because we want people to see our stuff. Unless you’re a painter who burns his paintings when he’s done with them, that’s the only reason we do this. We want as many people to see it, as many people to enjoy it and find it. A very frustrating thing happened to me when I made a program I created called another space and he did it for Yahoo Screen. Yahoo was starting this, which was going to be their online service, and they ordered three programs. We did it and we put a lot into it. But then they just ended up advertising it on Yahoo. When I got into it, it was like, “We’re going to do the traditional marketing campaign,” and then they didn’t do that. So it’s just this frustration that we have this big show and nobody knows it’s there. So it’s about how people can access a program.

It is even more visible in the second season, but Elena and him Martha the writers capture the nuances of the characters’ experiences and there is a lot of intentionality in their stories; while some storytellers may stumble upon a great, incisive take on race or gender because they’ve hired more inclusively. Where do you think Hollywood is in terms of having an active awareness and commitment to inclusive storytelling?

I think good storytellers are very aware of that, and I think people are becoming more aware. But not so much is done. Really, it’s, “Oh, look what we did. We fill this quota or that quota”, but there is no understanding of why you are doing it, or it is not organic. These days, you have to be aware of all those things. I personally love the awakening movement because it makes everyone realize this. Put the pressure on The people who get mad about it are people who just don’t want to think about it. But you have to think about it because we’re representing everyone, and you don’t want anyone to feel underrepresented or like they’re being portrayed in a way that’s not necessarily exploitative, but just pandering, like, “There you go. Here are your crumbs.” , go away”.

I really give Ellen credit for being so aware of that. It’s something that at my company we try to do with everything, but she’s the one who has to take it and make it work. It always amazes me whenever these scripts come out because of how nuanced they are and how well it walks that line. He’s very self-aware, and he has to be because, again, if he’s not, then you have the situation you talked about where you stumble and do the right thing, which is great, but it would be better if you knew why. . You’re doing the right thing.

The show garnered a lot of attention in its first season for its full frontal male nudity, but much more of what the show was doing was talking about sex and sexuality in a serious but open road It’s a different approach than the kind of sexless or hypersexualized binary of some current movie franchises and TV shows. As Martha do they exist outside of that binary for you?

I love how sexually positive our show is, but in an almost innocent way. Because at the end of the day, it’s a workplace comedy about people who are in the sex trade, but from a time when I was, I’m not going to say innocent by any stretch of my imagination, but I wasn’t this guy. ugly thing that can sometimes be these days. I’m talking about internet pornography and how extreme things are right now. There are certain shows that are really trying to push that limit, and I have total respect for that. But at the same time, it becomes, I don’t know, like you’re almost trying to challenge the audience to like it or shock people into watching it. I don’t like surprises, except if I can surprise you to make you laugh. So, I think that’s why I fell in love with the idea of ​​this show from the very beginning.

Growing up in the ’70s, I remember Playboy and Playgirl magazine. I remember all the moral majority. And all of a sudden, you’d walk into a 7-Eleven and there were things that were covering the magazines that used to be out in the open. It brings up all the conversation and controversy about the representation of sex in our lives, but in a way that’s not going to put our audience off on how some shows that other people really like do it, but I’m just saying, “I can.” . Don’t deal with it. It’s too much about young people having sex. It’s not fun for me, just as an adult.” Our program makes sex fun. It’s a fun depiction of sex and sexuality. Bambi (Jessica Lowe) is a great character and she’s very open. She and Shelley are having this relationship, but she’s kind of cool about it. I think that’s the kind of sex positivity I want to see, because it’s fun and silly but meaningful.

Interview edited for length and clarity.

Martha the second season debuts on the Starz app, streaming and on-demand platforms, and its linear channel on July 21.


Sara Marcus
Sara Marcushttps://unlistednews.com
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


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