Welcome to the first 5 episodes of 1235347339 TV, The Hollywood Reporter’s TV podcast.
Weekly, host Lesley Goldberg (West Coast Television Editor) and Daniel Fienberg (Chief TV Critic) breaks down the latest TV news with business and critical context, welcomes showrunners, executives and other guests, and provides keynotes on what to watch guide (or skip, as appropriate).
This week we are joined by Cash Carraway, creator of the HBO dark comedy Rain Dogs, for an interview on the working class series inspired by her life and memoir.
Other topics in this week’s TV’s Top 5 include this week’s headlines (starring Mike Schur, Barry, Batman, The Sopranos creator David Chase and… Hot Wheels), Martin Scorsese A season of commentary on Leonardo DiCaprio’s t troubled Devil in the White City and Peacock Poker Face. Additionally, Dan reviews Apple’s Ted Lasso, Paramount+’s School Spirits and UnPrisoned by Hulu/Onyx Collective in the Critic’s Corner section.
But first, read on for a condensed portion of our interview with Carraway.
Originally published on 1529103371 Daisy May Cooper to star in drama based on your memoirSkint Estate and it will even be called Cash Carraway. How did that autobiographical drama turn into a comedy and you emphasized in your press release that it wasn’t autobiographical?
As I write this, just before the BBC announcement, I say I don’t want this Do; too revealing. It’s not that I don’t like memoir, but I don’t like that it’s the only way I make money writing it. I am only allowed to write about myself. So I said it was too revealing and asked if I could write another show about the people living in that world. But I don’t want to tell my story. I went to write two scripts — the first two episodes — and thankfully, HBO said, “Okay.” And Daisy was on board. Have you decided what other autobiographical elements you want to put here?
There are a lot of me in it. But I am not Costello (Cooper), nor is Iris (Fleur Tashjian) my daughter. For this book, there wasn’t a whole lot of story going on; I had a lot of thoughts about my predicament, so I could really start from scratch. I can take Costello to places I could never go myself. This is a series?
I improvise in many ways. The first few episodes were written and ready, and then we started filming. I’m writing it because we’re in it. That helps with its chaotic nature and the chaotic experiences of these characters, because I made it up on the fly. So, if it looks unstructured, that’s why.
When you adapt a memoir, people are more inclined to tell you how you want to tell your story. But if you stop telling your story, it gives people permission to annotate more. What kind of notes did you get?
Because they wanted a real show about real working people, I do have that freedom. TV in the UK is definitely usually made by very upper class people. I know who these characters are. I have lived such a life; I have lived among these people. I know how they will react, how they will talk and what they will do. That’s why I’m allowed to do it. Making things worse for dramatic effect?
For example, at the beginning of the show, this was never what happened to me – I never lived In the satyr’s cupboard. There’s not much that Costello does that I actually accomplish. But I thought about them. I’ve worked on some of the work she’s done—I’ve worked on diorama shows. I did some of the things she did and lived in some of the places she lived. But I never went to extremes like she did.
Where did the title of the show come from?
I love Tom waits . Actually, I don’t really like the album Rain Dogs; I’m more like Closing Time type of person. But yeah, just the image it evokes. Rain dog, drenched door, nowhere to go. The original title was All Shook Down, this is a A Replacements album, just because there are these two stray dogs on the cover. But Rain Dogs seems like a better title.
When did HBO get involved and what are their caveats?
They’re always talking about comedy and making it funnier. The BBC wanted more drama, more feeling for the pain of these people. It’s an incredible contradiction. The humor is lost in translation, but the pathos is there. I had to explain a lot about how poverty works. How does poverty work?
More about what’s going on with the British working class. For example, the day Costello was evicted, I had to explain that in working-class housing, everyone knows about you.
Is it more eager to portray British working class families? Because there was Roseanne here a few years ago, the success of the revival led to more stories about working class America.
There are very few shows like this here either. I don’t feel like I’m telling a poverty story when we tend to see the working class on TV in the UK. I felt like I was telling a story about a working-class woman who was trying to be something, and when we first met her, she happened to be in this difficult situation. I would love to avoid all these tropes. We always have to show this great suffering when we see poor people. And Costello doesn’t show that pain. At first, she really held back as she tried to stay strong and stand on her own two feet. But she can’t do that. Often when we see working-class characters in this country, they really need help. Their stories are often told through the eyes of middle-class writers. I think you have a very different experience with working class families when someone feels sorry for them. I don’t feel sorry for the working class because I am, and I’ve always been a part of that world. So the way I write about the working class is joyous and spiritual, I hope.
Make these characters, especially Selby (Jack Farthing) and Costello, like you The challenge of being as messy as you want without risking alienating your audience by making them messy?
In the original early draft there was more physical violence between them, they attacked together other people. It really alienates people. When you do a first or second draft, you make it big, don’t you? You put everything into it. They inhabit a world of drama and chaos. But that’s too much. Reporting by HBO and the BBC helped to do just that. We want to see these characters be amoral and chaotic as they roam their worlds, but we also need to connect with them. We need to be drawn to them and want to follow them on this journey.
The Selby-Costello relationship is a show that oscillates on whether their relationship is toxic or nurturing. This is obviously the question you should be asking from beginning to end. How did your own empathy or perspective shift as you put these characters together and apart?
I love those characters so much. They are poisonous, and together they are even more poisonous. But they do love each other. When that love is genuine, that toxicity takes it away. I think their relationship is very romantic. A lot of people would say it’s disgusting; they’re violent towards each other and they should stay away from each other. But they love their family and they want to keep the family together. They want to be normal – or they try their best – but they just can’t. It feels real, because real love is messy. You will only say the most horrible and disgusting things to the people you really love. It didn’t feel like a typical abusive relationship. I certainly don’t want to go down this road. Making Selby an out-and-out villain would have been easy to do. But it would be boring.
Is Rain Dogs a world you’re ready to revisit? Is this an ongoing show or something more closed?
When I conceived it in my head, it was a trilogy. I knew where we were going at the end of that trilogy. I have some idea of the part in between. But I don’t want to start writing it until we’re sure. But yes, I can be with these characters. In my opinion, we are just getting started.
Listen to Carroway’s full interview for more on Rain Dog. MUST SUBSCRIBE TV’s Top 5 Never miss an episode. (Comments welcome!) You can also email us at [email protected] with any topics or pouch questions you’d like addressed in future episodes.