“A Teacher” — a show that examines a sexual relationship between a teacher and her student — was created by Hannah Fidell, and stars Kate Mara and Nick Robinson. During day one of Variety‘s inaugural FYC Fest, Kate Aurthur hosted Fidell, Mara and Robinson for a Meet The Makers of FX on Hulu’s “A Teacher” panel. The creative team talked about the challenging journey to bring this project to audiences: As a survivor of sexual assault herself, Fidell wanted to tell the story honestly and carefully.

Mara, who plays the title role as well as serving as an executive producer on the show, understood the difficulties in playing a villain, but wanted to explore the unusual situation of a female abuser. She found ways to make the teacher, Claire Wilson, relatable and show why an intelligent, married woman might have an abusive, sexual relationship with her student.

In a strange twist, Robinson has become a bit of a social media heartthrob from his portrayal Eric Walker, leading to the question of whether some young fans might be missing the point of his character’s struggles. Robinson, however, said he has been impressed with the audience’s openness in discussing issues around sexual assault issues on various online forums.

Fidell based the limited series on her 2013 film by the same name, but the emergence of the #MeToo movement in recent years changed her approach to the show: She was able take an in-depth look at the experience both the victim and the abuser, and present all the consequences.

The three panelists spoke about the importance of Episode 5 when Claire admits to the affair. Fidell said she wanted the audience to feel like they’ve been punched in the stomach, underscoring the show’s painful subject matter.

To ensure FX on Hulu’s support for the project, and its highlighting of a forbidden relationship, Fidell showed the network the script for Episode 7 first.  Generally, a show’s network previews the first episode or two, Fidell acknowledged, but it was important that they see that the show truly goes into the aftermath Claire’s and Eric’s toxic relationship.