×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lifetime’s ‘You’ Team Says Show Will Focus on How ‘Privacy Is Gone’

Lifetime’s new drama “You,” based on Caroline Kepnes’ novel of the same name, may follow a man who stalks a woman, but the headline of the series is not that it’s a #MeToo story but that “privacy is gone,” according to showrunner Sera Gamble.

“It’s really, really hard not to have a social media footprint,” Gamble said at the Television Critics Assn. tour panel for the series Thursday. “Even if you’re not on social media, you probably have friends that are.”

Gamble added that such an interconnected world means it’s harder to protect the parts of one’s self that they may want to keep private. On the show, Joe (Penn Badgley) meets a young woman, Beck (Elizabeth Lail), in a bookstore and becomes intrigued by her — so much so that he begins to stalk her on social media.

“He uses [social media] in the way that it was sort of intended and we follow that to some dark conclusions,” Gamble said. “There is something so fundamental about this show that’s about things that almost universally women fear. And I think Caroline tapped into that in the book, and I think that men move through the world slightly differently than women.”

Executive producer Greg Berlanti added that social media acted as another character on the show and was so integral to the fabric of the series that it was used in the initial pitch process.

“We had just very casually looked up certain executives online and went in and described where their kids went to camp and the name of their housekeeper and stuff — really creepy, creepy stuff,” he shared.

But inherently, the idea of watching a female character literally through a male gaze, let alone the fact that he is spying on her life and manipulating certain elements of it to get closer to her, might lend itself to some more overt #MeToo storytelling. The way the show intends to subvert expectations, though, is that it starts with “how Joe sees [Beck] but as time goes on, we start to see her as she is and we can compare and contrast,” Gamble explained.

“She’s not just a puppet for Joe,” Gamble stressed of Beck. “I think in talking about how to adapt the novel the initial conversations we had…were a lot about how we wanted to portray this young woman in her early 20s, who has so much ambition and drive in her life. We wanted to get deeper into her life than we’d seen in many TV shows.”

Having a stalker “dimensionalizes” Beck in many ways, per Gamble, because of how deep they can dive via more than one perspective of the character.

As the titular troubled protagonist, Badgley admitted he is very interested to see how people respond to the show at this time in history. “I personally feel about it that it is a bit of a social experiment because it’s like a litmus test to see the mental gymnastics we’re still willing to [go through] to love an evil white man,” he said. “I think it will certainly add to the conversation and it will create its own conversation.”

Ahead of the panel, Lifetime announced “You” had been renewed for a second season, and like the second book, it will be switching settings from New York to Los Angeles for that second year, Gamble confirmed.

“It’s kind of a brutal takedown of Hollywood,” Gamble said of the second book. “I recognized myself in it. [We’re going to explore] seeing what people around here deserve.”

More TV

  • Joseph Mawle

    'Lord of the Rings' Series at Amazon Casts 'Game of Thrones' Alum Joseph Mawle

    Amazon’s upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series has cast Joseph Mawle in a main role, Variety has confirmed with sources. Mawle joins previously announced cast members Will Poulter and Markella Kavenagh. Official details of Mawle’s characters are being kept under wraps, but sources say he will play a villain named Oren. Amazon declined to comment. Reps [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Jacob Tobia Joins

    TV News Roundup: Jacob Tobia Joins 'She-Ra and the Princess of Power'

    In today’s TV news roundup, “She-Ra and the Princess of Power” Season 4 adds Jacob Tobia, and The Weather Channel announces the premiere date for its climate change special with the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.  CASTING Jacob Tobia has joined Netflix‘s “She-Ra and the Princess of Power.” Voicing Double Trouble, Tobia joins Aimee Carrero, Karen Fukuhara, [...]

  • TV Ratings: 'Watchmen' Premiere Draws 1.5

    TV Ratings: 'Watchmen' Premiere Draws 1.5 Million Viewers

    Who will watch the Watchmen? Turns out 1.5 million people, that’s who. The debut of the highly anticipated HBO series delivered that many sets of eyeballs across all the premium cabler’s platforms on Sunday night. For comparison, Sunday’s premiere was up 21% in linear on last week’s “Succession” season finale, and up 20% from the [...]

  • Variety Sundance Portrait Studio

    Melanie Lynskey Joins Showtime Pilot 'Yellowjackets' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Melanie Lynskey has been cast in one of the main roles of the Showtime ensemble drama pilot “Yellowjackets,” Variety has learned exclusively. The project tells the story of a team of talented high school girls soccer players who survive a plane crash deep in the Ontario wilderness. The series chronicles their descent from a complicated [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Writers Guild Boosting Efforts in Project Development Amid Agency Standoff

    The Writers Guild of America, locked in a six-month standoff with major talent agencies, has announced that it’s boosting efforts at gathering TV, streaming and film project development data to help members find new employment opportunities. The WGA made the disclosure in a message to members on Monday. The guild directed its 15,000 members to fire [...]

  • Amy Poehler Jessica Goldberg

    Amy Poehler, Jessica Goldberg Team for 'The Mother-in-Law' Put Pilot at NBC

    Jessica Goldberg is set to write a drama with a put pilot order at NBC that Amy Poehler will executive produce. The project is titled “The Mother-in-Law,” based on the novel of the same name by Sally Hepworth. It is described as a thriller centered around a woman’s complicated relationship with her husband’s family that [...]

  • Beau Willimon Hulu The First

    Beau Willimon, Katie Cappiello to Produce 'Slut' Series Adaptation at Netflix

    Playwright Katie Cappiello is teaming with “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon to bring an adaptation of her 2013 play “Slut” to the small screen. The show, titled “Grand Army,” is set up at Netflix with Odessa A’zion set to lead the cast. “Grand Army” follows five students at the largest public high school in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content