Michaela Coel is a part of every aspect of her show on the BBC, I May Destroy You. She’s the creator, writer, director, and plays the lead roll, that of Arabella. The show is a personal project for her, even working with the giant that is the BBC, who allowed her to keep complete control.
“We’re thrilled to be working with someone as bold and fearless as Michaela. She has created an ultra-contemporary show which explores the issues of her generation with huge compassion, humor, and a raw truthfulness. It’s an incredibly urgent story which the BBC are proud to be telling,” said Piers Wenger, who is the controller of BBC Drama.
In a recent interview with the New York culture magazine Vulture, Coel revealed that their willingness to leave her in control of her own creature is a large part of why she made her show with the BBC. Netflix approached her first, but negotiations broke down over issue of ownership.
Coel had approached Netflix with a requirement that she maintain 5 percent ownership of the series.
“There was just silence on the phone,” Coel said. “And the executive said, ‘It’s not how we do things here. Nobody does that, it’s not a big deal.’ I said, ‘If it’s not a big deal, then I’d really like to have 5% of my rights.’” Instead, they offered her 0.5%, and even that broke down. So she pulled her offer.
Then, she said, a lower tier Netflix employee approached her and said, off the record, that she was right to stand up for her creative rights.
“I remember thinking, I’ve been going down rabbit holes in my head, like people thinking I’m paranoid, I’m acting sketchy, I’m killing off all my agents,” Coel said. “And then she said those words to me, and I finally realized — I’m not crazy. This is crazy.”
Season One of I May Destroy You premiered on the 7th of June, and has generally positive reviews. And Coel has her hands firmly on the reins, where they belong.
Source: Black Enterprise
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