“The book was so surprising,” showrunner Christina Lee says of Alissa Nutting’s novel “Made for Love,” which inspired the HBO Max series of the same name. Lee and Nutting are both executive producers and writers on the freshman sci-fi comedy series. Nutting “really wanted this to be a companion piece to her book as opposed to a straight adaptation,” Lee shares, but as showrunner, “I wanted to make sure that we maintained that tone that she had clearly in the book.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
Nutting reveals that her 2017 novel was born out of her desire to get a divorce from her husband while pregnant. “I didn’t know how I would begin a new life with him watching me stumble forward through mutual friends and social media, so that was really the seed of it,” she shares. In the series, that idea translates into the fictional tech mogul Byron Gogol (Billy Magnussen) secretly implanting a chip in his wife Hazel’s (Cristin Milioti) brain.
“Casting was heliocentric around Cristin’s sunny star,” Nutting poetically says about choosing Milioti to play Hazel. Milioti’s prior work on “Black Mirror” and especially limited series “Fargo” made her a standout to Nutting for the part. “Billy really inspired us to write more about [Byron’s] back story because he showed us so much vulnerability,” Lee adds about working with Magnussen. “We call him Ray ‘no bad takes’ Romano,” Lee jokes about the sitcom star, saying that he “brought so much humanity to the role.” The ensemble also includes Noma Dumezweni, Dan Bakkedahl and Caleb Foote.
The series is a unique hybrid of science fiction, drama and comedy, and Lee and Nutting discuss perfecting the show’s tone. “It was a true, three-way mind melt that I have never experienced before,” Lee shares about bringing director Stephanie Laing on board. The key to mastering the technology, humor, and heart for Lee was “always keeping it grounded, despite it being a heightened world.” “What’s so nice about doing a show with the primary themes of love, and relationships, and technology: you’re always going to have source material,” shares Nutting, adding that those themes became “exponentially more timely” as a result of the pandemic.
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