Patty Jenkins Interview: ‘I Am the Night’ director
“This is a story I’ve known for so long, and had tried to do many times before,” reveals Patty Jenkins about “I Am the Night.” Based on the book “One Day She’ll Darken,” this TNT limited series tells the true story of Fauna Hodel (India Eisley), a teenager who discovers she isn’t who she thinks she is. She connects with a disgraced reporter (Chris Pine) to uncover her dark family secrets, which involve the 1947 “Black Dahlia” murder. Watch our exclusive video interview with Jenkins above.
Jenkins helmed the first two episodes, but she already “had been telling this story for many years” by the time she told Pine about it while the two were filming “Wonder Woman” (2017). “He was so captivated,” she recalls. Meanwhile, her husband, writer Sam Sheridan, had finally figured out a way to tell the complex story by combining multiple narratives into the arc of one composite character, who would ultimately be played by Pine.
“Once my husband broke the stories, I got so into it,” Jenkins adds. She’s a “connoisseur of incredible stories, and particularly extreme stories of human nature. I strangely watch tons of true crime documentaries as a result.” And “this was the most incredible story I had ever heard in my life, and still is to this day.”
Jenkins met the real-life Hodel, who penned the book that inspired the series, and she found Hodel to be “diametrically opposed to everything you would think that woman would be. She was incredibly positive and loving, and the master of her world, despite having been through this unbelievable story … The fact that this woman ended up with almost a shapeless identity… became what I was hooked to.”
Jenkins made her feature film debut with “Monster” (2003), which brought Charlize Theron a Best Actress Oscar. It also won the Independent Spirit prize for Best First Feature, and Jenkins was nominated there for Best First Screenplay. Her TV credits include “The Killing,” which brought her an Emmy nomination and a DGA win for Best Drama Directing, “Arrested Development,” “Entourage,” and the TV anthology movie “Five” (2011), which earned her another DGA bid. She is currently working on the “Wonder Woman” sequel, “Wonder Woman 1984,” due in June 2020.