A version of this story about Mimi Leder first appeared in the Emmy Hot List issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
Decades ago, Mimi Leder broke ground for female directors when Paramount hired her to direct the big-budget disaster movie “Deep Impact,” executive produced by Steven Spielberg.
But she’s spent most of her time working in television, landing nominations for directing “China Beach,” “ER” and “The West Wing” and also establishing a relationship with former HBO executive Michael Ellenberg, who pitched her over dinner on his new Apple TV+ series “The Morning Show,” set on a network’s daily morning program.
“I was a huge fan of ‘Network’ and ‘Broadcast News’ and ‘The Larry Sanders Show,’ always fascinated by what that world looked like when you pulled the curtain back,” she said. “I’d never signed on to a show without a script, but I signed on to the show right then and there.”
Her priority, she said, dictated the way she shot the episodes — including “The Interview,” the season finale for which she was nominated. “I wanted the show to have a very authentic and grounded look, to show how big the world is but also give it a very intimate feel,” she said. “That was one of the reasons we chose to shoot it in a wider format. It was a much more cinematic way to shoot, because the frame is bigger and wider and has a great feeling of intimacy. I really wanted to shoot the women on this show very much the way men are shot. You can go closer on men, and also show the environment in the other half of the frame.”
The struggle, she said, was to get the environment to feel real. “This was a hard show to mount, because we had to create the behind-the-scenes look, but also the look in front of the camera. The broadcast look was very bright and very warm, and the look outside the broadcast stage has more color, more saturation, more shadows. Finding that tone wasn’t easy.”
Read more of the Emmy Hot List issue here.