The title might be “Roar,” but a more accurate description of the upcoming anthology series on Apple TV+ might be “The Struggle.”
That’s because the eight-episode mystery comedy series from “GLOW” creators Carly Mensch and Liz Fellhive, which premieres on Friday, tells the tales of women grappling with some kind of dilemma, whether it’s about motherhood, the past, expectations or marketing, all carefully told. In a humorous way, the fashion is surreal and downright bizarre.
Based on the collection of short stories by Cecilia Ahern, featuring clever writing and a talented cast led by Nicole Kidman (also executive producer), Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”), Issa Rae (“Insecure”), Merritt Weaver (“Nurse Jackie”). ) and former “GLOW” stars Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie.
The series was filmed primarily around Los Angeles (with the exception of the story of the Australian group Kidman) and each episode took about 10 days to film. The short gig was a selling point for the actors, who were praised by Minch for playing in the show’s experimental pitch.
She said, “It felt like we were in a strange lab, like every (episode) was her own experience, and people were excited to discover her as an actor, cinematographer, writer, director. Like everyone would come and ask kind of very interesting literal questions, which was like, ‘How Am I going to take a picture?” “How am I going to stay emotionally honest while working opposite a desk?” As if they all had a challenge and I think that really spoke to the performers who said yes and wanted to get in on the play.”
The inaugural episode, “The Woman Who Disappeared,” stars Ray as a writer who finds herself literally made invisible to those around her when a production company chooses her groundbreaking novel about racism to turn it into a video game. For this, Flahaev credits writer Janine Naber for taking Ahern’s story on aging and taking it in a different direction.
She said, “What really got us excited, was watching Janine take on a kind of commodification of black artists in the wake of Black Lives Matter….But what seemed so fresh and new here was this idea of what it feels like to be successful in your field but still not seen or heard.” Actually taking that feeling and making it literally.”
Even more surreal is The Woman Kept Shelf, which portrays Gilpin as a former model who lives on a wall in her wealthy husband’s office so she can be his inspiration around the clock.
“It’s actually a fairly universal story, about getting stuck in certain marriages or certain expectations of you and then breaking them and then experiencing freedom and then having to decide what kind of future you want for yourself,” Flahaev said.
She added, “It was one of the most challenging visuals in the book, which was like, ‘How do we picture a woman who lives on a shelf? Like I don’t even know how to do it. Which seemed like a really great cinematic experience.”