Anja Marquardt on creating the universal themes of ‘The Girlfriend Experience’ season 3

“We’re all struggling with the same thing,” reveals Anja Marquardt in an exclusive interview with Gold Derby about the third season of “The Girlfriend Experience” (watch the video above), on which she serves as co-executive producer, creator, director and writer. Marquardt continues, “We’re all struggling with: How far do we let algorithms into our lives? How much of who we are is being mirrored back to us and reinforced and directed (perhaps by technology)?”

This season of the escort anthology is set in London against the backdrop of artificial intelligence and deep tech, a shift from an earlier plan to adapt an unpublished novel by Allison Leotta, who “had written a piece specifically to be potentially the underlying material for season three.”

Marquardt explains, “When I was brought on, the novel was going to be underlying source material and I was really smitten by it and it was very different — had a human rights component that I was really into, but then things really changed in the cultural landscape and over at the network and ultimately, the idea was to go to London to break it open to make it more international and what happened then — I was tasked with coming up with a new original take and that’s how we ended up in London and in the tech world.”

She says about casting Julia Goldani Telles in the lead role of Iris Stanton, “I saw her spunk, her smarts and her — she’s a trained athlete in a previous life and I saw that ability to pivot really quickly. There’s a physicality to it, but it’s also mental and emotional and that’s exactly what Iris needs because she is such a chameleon, going in and there’s almost a performative aspect to her, putting on different personas.”

This season concludes its 10-episode broadcast run this weekend on Starz, three and a half years after the second. “That’s a conversation that will be had,” teases Marquardt about making a fourth season. The de facto showrunner adds, “There could be potential for further seasons that open up new story worlds.”

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