Interview with Michelle MacLaren: Shining Girls

Apple TV + continues its trend of offering top-notch entertainment with its latest limited series, shiny girls. The psychological thriller premiered on the streaming service on April 29 and is based on Lauren Beukes’ bestselling 2013 novel. Newspaper archivist Kirby Mazrachi (Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale) is at the heart of the story. She was brutally assaulted years ago, but she doesn’t remember much of her attacking her.

When the series begins, however, a new series of murders gives him the opportunity to track down the criminal and opens the door to an even greater mystery. Journalist Dan Velazquez (Wagner Moura, Narcos) soon finds himself personally involved in helping him find the truth and together they discover a metaphysical side of the murders they never expected.

The outburst on the screen had the opportunity to meet director Michelle MacLaren, who previously worked on giants such as Game of thrones and has won awards for breaking Bad. MacLaren has spoken on the influences he drew upon when creating the world of the genre shiny girlsThe first two episodes, how they established the period aspects of the show, and what a great collaborator Elisabeth Moss does.

Screen frequency: Directing the first few episodes of a series is key to setting the tone and building the world. What aspects you wanted to focus on most shiny girls?

Michelle MacLaren: Well, there were several things. Shining Girls is a mix of genres, so I’ve pulled things from All The President’s Men to Se7en and Zodiac to Michael Mann’s The Insider, which is very voyeuristic.

I wanted the audience to experience what Kirby was going through, so there’s fear and vulnerability to begin with. And then, over the course of the series, she becomes more confident as she learns more [it] and while chasing the person who did this.

But in the end, we wanted to do something that changes the genre, because we’re leaning on all these different things, and it’s exciting, thrilling and mysterious. But you really care deeply about these characters, you feel involved and ultimately feel empowered by the story.

Elisabeth Moss is fantastic as Kirby and such a fundamental force to the show, especially as the growing sense of unreality creeps into the first few episodes. What was it like working with her and collaborating to make Kirby such a strong character?

Michelle MacLaren: Lizzie is fantastic. She is so versatile, she has such amazing shades and she is a powerful person in her own right, of course. She and she was also the director of the series, so we worked closely as director-actress and director-director.

Lizzie and I talked a lot about Kirby’s vulnerable state in the beginning. He wants to leave town, he just wants to get away from it all – and then he has the opportunity to change course, pursue and potentially discover who attacked her to regain control of his life.

He has to go from this incredibly vulnerable character to this incredibly powerful and confident character. And a talented actress like Lizzie does it in such a breathtaking way. It is a pure pleasure to work with her.

Time is obviously so important in history. And 30 years ago, it’s actually a lot farther than I thought when I started looking. How does it feel staring at this hour, knowing there will be more?

Michelle MacLaren: Well, it’s always difficult to make a vintage piece. We are in Chicago, filming is in 2021 and we have to make it look like 1992. Not everyone goes around with cell phones; the machines are different; clothes are different. Everything is different. All LED panels must be covered. I mean, it’s a different world. And you think it’s not that different, but 30 years ago there were a lot of changes. So there are these visual challenges.

And then, only stylistically in the way we approached it, we got the chance to shoot in real places, like the tunnels under the city where the floods occurred. We shot in real areas of Chicago, which are very representative of that era, but we had our challenges from the period piece.

And then for the other deadlines we obviously played with the wardrobe and the scenography, but also with the grain of the film. The further back we went, the grainier the film we brought looked. We played with this going further and further back in time.

shiny girls Synopsis

Years after a brutal attack left her in an ever-changing reality, Kirby Mazrachi discovers that a recent murder is linked to her assault. He teams up with veteran journalist Dan Velazquez to understand his ever-changing present and confront his past.

Also check out our previous interview with star Wagner Moura.

New episodes of shiny girls every Friday on Apple TV +.

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