AMC’s new series “Dietland” got a rewrite after the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal captured national attention, showrunner Marti Noxon told TheWrap.
“I think that we were lucky that the story about Harvey broke when we were just location scouting, and none of the scripts had been shot yet,” Noxon said. “We did rewrite to reflect a kind of ‘post-reckoning world,” she added, saying audiences will notice the theme more “as the story progresses.”
“Dietland,” which was already about women reclaiming their power from misogynistic men and abusers, provides “the next extension of the Me Too movement,” Noxon said. “What if people took it even to the next level and went after the predators who are active today?”
The satirical drama, based on Sarai Walker’s novel of the same name, follows Plum Kettle (Joy Nash), a ghostwriter for the beauty magazine Daisy Chain, run by Kitty Montgomery (Julianna Margulies). We watch Plum’s adventure of self-discovery against a backdrop of news reports about men accused of sexual abuse and assault — who wind up murdered and, quite literally, thrown out of the sky.
If that sounds like a surreal premise, it’s supposed to. “The world is so weird now, that if somebody said that people were being dropped out of planes, I wouldn’t be as surprised as I was [when I read it] in the book,” said Noxon.
“I decided that the only way to really communicate that experience of the book was to fully embrace that surrealist quality and even push it a little further,” the showrunner told TheWrap. “The world — in the time from the time I read the book to the time we made the show — had pitched up a notch, to the point where I was like: ‘Even the book feels a little tame now.’”
Going after active predators seems like the logical next step, Noxon argued, in terms of dramatizing such perpetrators in the Me Too era. “People are aware that there [have] been some people held accountable, but when it’s your day-to-day life, you’re still dealing with all the bulls—,” she said.
“A lot of these guys who are going down are kind of either at the end of their predatory careers, and the end of their career-careers,” she said. “So you’re like, ‘hmmm, that can’t be all the guys — or abusers, because it’s not all about men, you know, anybody can be an abuser. It’s all about power. So the idea is that [the show takes place] a little bit in the future when there’s still a lot of people out there running around doing horrible things.”
What Noxon hopes the show will do? “Help empathetic men really walk in the shoes of somebody who’s experienced this their whole life,” she said.
“Dietland” premieres Monday, June 4 on AMC at 9/8 c.