Silka Luisa interview: ‘Shining Girls’ creator

“Shining Girls,” the new Apple TV+ series starring Elisabeth Moss as a survivor of attempted murder by a serial killer, is a fascinating mix of sci-fi and crime fiction. Creator Silka Luisa became a major fan of Lauren Beukes‘s 2013 novel on which the series is based precisely for its blending of genres and how the author approached the material. “It just felt like I’d never read anything like that before,” says Luisa in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. Watch the full interview with the creator/producer/writer above.

The series follows Moss’s character Kirby as she tries to make sense of her life, often having her reality shift before her eyes. Over time, we learn that her attempted killer Harper (Jamie Bell) is a time traveler who has claimed numerous victims over the course of nearly a century. Because she survived, Kirby is intrinsically affected by Harper’s choices. The show is intentionally disorienting for the first few episodes, placing us exactly in Kirby’s frame of mind. “When she figures out things, you’re figuring out things,” the showrunner notes. “When she starts to get a stronger sense of herself, you are too.”

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Luisa was also keenly aware of the more troubling tropes that come from shows about serial killers, having deep conversations with her collaborators about exactly what should and shouldn’t be shown onscreen. “The show lives in the aftermath of violence,” she points out. “It’s not about glorifying or making it gratuitous or celebrating it.” She also knew that because of the sci-fi and mystery elements in the show’s conceit, its themes about trauma and violence against women wouldn’t be too tough to bear. “It’s like the sugar that keeps you coming back and engaging with the show, so that you actually can connect with the characters and can talk about these things without it feeling like a lesson.”

“Shining Girls” marks Luisa’s first series as a showrunner, an ambitious undertaking given the number of narrative threads. Luckily, she was surrounded by strong collaborators like Moss, who was involved early enough to be a sounding board for her to figure out exactly where to take Kirby and the rest of the show. “We’ve been through the trenches together, we’ve built the show together,” the creator explains, “So then you have an ally who actually understands what you’re trying to do, and why.”

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UPLOADED Jun 5, 2022 12:00 pm