“People appreciate creativity and being surprised,” explains original “The Flight Attendant” director Susanna Fogel about the success of the globetrotting thriller on HBO Max, for which she was an executive producer on the opening two episodes. Fogel won the Best Comedy Directing award from the Directors Guild of America last month for helming the pilot; she credits her “continued effort to keep the show weird and out-of-the-box.”
Fogel elaborates in her exclusive interview with Gold Derby (watch the video above) that the originality of the material lay not only in stylistic flourishes, but in “character work” with Kaley Cuoco‘s protagonist that defied Hollywood norms. She explains, “It shouldn’t be weird to have a show about a woman in her 30s who’s not pursuing the marriage-and-kids path, but it is refreshing. It’s rare to see that — to see a show about a woman whose problems have nothing to do with her marital status at her age and as a woman who’s in her 30s when I made the show, I loved that.”
A past BAFTA and Writers Guild of America Award nominee for screenwriting, “The Flight Attendant” represents Fogel’s first awards recognition as a director. She recounts about her journey, “I really moved out to L.A. to be a writer first and then eventually make my way back to directing and by the time I did that, I had dialed into a writing career here, so it was then a big fight to remind people that I directed, which I had started out doing 10 years before.”
Fogel made her television directorial debut with a stray second-season episode of “Chasing Life,” the drama that she developed, wrote and executive-produced for ABC Family. “TV directing is really hard to break into and if it weren’t my own show where I was more or less a boss if not the boss, I don’t know that I would have so easily gotten that opportunity,” says the 2021 Emmy Awards contender.
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