Adrienne Mitchell and Jane Maggs Talk Bellevue’s Aesthetic and Working in TV
Last week’s Bellevue concluded with a discovery that shifts the narrative to a murder mystery and the myriad secrets and lies that were complicit in its occurrence. The eight-episode season is just two episodes in, and we’ve only seen the edge of the abyss. In the next part of my interview with series creators and executive producers Adrienne Mitchell and Jane Maggs, we talk about the show’s distinct look, how they have navigated the television industry so far, and what’s being done to bring the next generation along.
As she mentioned in our last segment, Mitchell worked on Bellevue from the ground up, and part of that was utilizing a very specific color palette and unique landmarks to build the aesthetic, something she also did on a previous series. “On Durham County and Bellevue, I had a similar approach. I did a lot of the visual design. There always seems to be a focal point. With Durham County, it was the hydro tower,” she recalls.
“With this, it’s the black mountains, the abandoned mines, and how they strangely, through nature, looked like these incredible sculptures with dark purple and red rivets that were created by rain and snow but were looming behind the workers’ houses that were there for convenience from the heyday of the mine. That became the center and everything would bounce off of that.”
“For a contrast to that, we’d look for warmth in environments that were more natural. When we’re in the town, we would bring up the dark purples and cool reds to indicate the world of the town that’s desperate for something beautiful and life-affirming but can’t [attain it] because their economy [is] so impoverished. That’s why they’re so invested in Jesse as their star hockey player, because they need that.”
The series is landing at a potent time, within the current climate of women rising up and finding their voices. Maggs hopes viewers respond to Bellevue‘s story. “I think something that feels even more heightened at this point is the theme we’re exploring…the horrifying trickle-down effect of intolerance spoken by people in positions of power and how it affects the world around it,” she says.
“I think that’s obviously a big part of the political culture in the States in a pretty unpleasant way. That’s the sort of negative side. In the entertainment world and the me too movement, things are trending more positively. [Bellevue] is very female-driven [and] so I think in that respect, it’s probably a resonant time for that type of project to come about.”
Mitchell is proud of her track record with her production company, Back Alley Films, which has worked very hard to foster safe spaces within their productions, and create opportunities for up and coming artists. “We’re not bullies. We’re not people who want to work with bullies, sexual predators or anyone who makes anybody uncomfortable. I think there’s an atmosphere there that makes people understand who we are and what will and will not be tolerated,” she explains.
“We’ve had the fortune of working with a lot of female executives in the broadcast industry who are the decision makers and that’s certainly been a key element as well. There’s that spirit of bringing people up into the industry, bringing diversity in, in terms of gender and racial background in all creative elements.”
“That creates an element of, ‘This is who we are and this is what we’re like and anything inappropriate will not be tolerated,’ and it works quite well. We have really promoted a lot of female writing and directing talent and will continue to do so.”
Mitchell also credits the Canadian creative unions and guilds with stepping up. “All our unions have been in huge and extensive conversations around policy and revising policy and coming up with support systems and committees,” she shares. “We’re very proactive about bringing new voices on board. I think for people starting out and wanting to do it in a safe way, look at the unions and guilds. That’s a great first journey into it.”
Maggs is comparatively new to TV writing and producing, and has spent most of her career so far on Canadian-based productions like Bellevue, Season 1 of Cardinal (available in the US on Hulu), and now on Season 2 of Netflix’s Anne with an E. She considers herself extremely fortunate that her path has been positive.
“My personal experience has been really largely working with women in a more dominating way than men in the TV industry,” she points out. “Until I went to the States, [I] didn’t realize how unique that was. [Having] more women than men in a writing room and a female-dominated shoot [take predatory behavior] off the table. I’ve also worked with wonderful men. I’ve been really lucky and charmed.”
Bellevue airs Tuesdays at 10 pm/9c on WGN America. If you missed the first two episodes, they’re online now at WGNA’s website. Here’s a sneak peek of “The Guy with Fire in His Eyes” and a couple of interviews with the cast.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk the From Season 2 finale
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale.] How’s everyone doing after that finale? While we wait and wonder and hope for a third season announcement, soon, here’s what Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders had to say about their parts of the finale, and where they hope they get to go next….
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk From Season 2 + A Season Finale Preview
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] It all comes down this, #FROMily. As Sunday’s episode wraps up Season 2, we begin with the aftermath of the terrifying onset of seemingly simultaneous attacks on Julie, Marielle, and Randall, which accelerate the “We gotta get out of this place” of it all. Sara comes…
Alison Sweeney Talks About What’s Next for Hannah and Mike After Carrot Cake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery
[Warning: Spoilers for Carrot Cake Murder.] Everybody OK after that Hannah Swensen Mystery twist? Thankfully, our favorite crime-solving couple is still on speaking term, even if they’re on a break (hopefully not that kind of break). Most importantly, we already know this isn’t the last film in the series. No…
Counting Down to From Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] We’re just shy of two weeks away from Season 2 of last spring’s obsession, From, which premieres at 9 pm/8c, Sunday, April 23rd, on MGM+ (formerly EPIX). If you never picked it up last year, now’s your chance, and you can do it for free, catching…
Thank Me Later: Will Trent
[Warning: spoilers ahead.] I’m on record as loving and losing shows over at ABC so I’m usually very reticent to pick something up on the network until it’s been renewed, and I seriously hope I’m not jinxing it, but I took a chance on the deeply odd and very sweet…
Dennis Heaton Talks The Imperfects
Longtime readers at TV Goodness will know that Motive is one of my ride-or-die series, and as such, I am fiercely loyal to its creator, Dennis Heaton. He followed up that fantastic reverse procedural with Netflix’s The Order and is back on our streaming screens with The Imperfects, which dropped…
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…