“I was really interested in what happens when you have to really face who you are,” explains Lucy Prebble on the creation of her show “I Hate Suzie.” Prebble co-created the drama from HBO Max and Sky with friend Billie Piper who plays the titular character. She wrote all eight episodes of Season 1 (in addition to serving as executive producer), which explores what happens to a famous actress after the cloud is hacked and her explicit photos are posted online. Watch the exclusive video interview above.
After working together on the series “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” and the play “The Effect,” Prebble and Piper began discussing what other projects they were interested in working on together. The writer remembers approaching the conversations with the thought: “what would I do if I could actually do anything?” She initially developed a female friendship driven story, akin to her and Piper’s real life friendship. But the creator admits that “I’m never satisfied by a kind of cozy, traditional idea.” So the concept of hacked photos entered the picture, as it was something “that I had never seen done before.”
The massive invasion of privacy depicted in the series serves as a metaphor for Suzie confronting who she truly is under the many layers of artifice she’s created. With that in mind, Prebble themed each episode around a stage of grief. The show brings Suzie from shock and denial, all the way through to acceptance. The style and tone of each episode shifts dramatically to match each new stage.
“That really broke it open for me as a writer,” explains Prebble. The concept excited her because the show suddenly felt like it “could be quite an interesting work of art as a whole.” It’s a structure that provides a visceral experience for the lead character and audiences members as they are sucked into exactly what Suzie is experiencing. It also allows for brief forays into the surreal or fantastical, like a musical outburst from Piper. “It’s a tightrope walk of tone,” admits Prebble, who says she wanted “to look at a story as the faces on a jewel” rather than a strictly linear narrative.
The writer is quite used to variety. She provided the story for the hit video game “Destiny,” has an extensive theater resume (including a Tony nomination for Best Score for “Enron”), and is an Emmy champ for producing Best Drama Series winner “Succession.” Working in various mediums invigorates the writer. “I love it,” claims Prebble. “I’m a writer first and foremost. I’m fascinated by how you do that in different forms.”
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