‘Sharp Objects is about female violence, female aggression’: Gillian Flynn on her latest HBO thriller

The Gone Girl author discusses her latest book-turned-show, starring Amy Adams

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American author Gillian Flynn has three best-selling novels under her belt: Gone Girl, Dark Places and Sharp Objects. Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron tackled the lead roles in the big-screen adaptations of the first two, but Sharp Objects remained untouched… Until now.

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In the gritty new Sky Atlantic drama, Amy Adams stars as a journalist who returns to her hometown to report on a series of brutal murders. RadioTimes.com caught up with Flynn to find out more…

What was it like working with Amy Adams on Sharp Objects?

Amy and I have been trying to do something together for a long time. In fact, Amy was originally going to do [the Charlize Theron role in] Dark Places, but then she got pregnant. After that, we got together and said, “Let’s try to do Sharp Objects.” We took the project to many studios together. We drove all over the place to try and get it sold as a TV show.

Why a TV show and not a film?

It was originally going to be a movie but thankfully, the project fell through. And in the meantime, we had the rise of HBO doing these great television series. When I started to write Sharp Objects, I very much intended it to be a story about female violence and female aggression, and what it looked like – but using a mystery to pull it along; to give it an engine. To me, the story of Sharp Objects is a character study wrapped up inside a whodunit.

That’s why I’m glad it’s a TV series and I’m relieved that it took so long to come around, because I think we would have lost the character study in a film and it would’ve been much more of a mystery.

What makes Amy Adams perfect for the role of Camille Preaker?

Amy has this sweet vulnerability to her. You worry about her – but she also has this spine of steel. You don’t want anyone who’s so delicate that you can’t stand to watch them wander around [Camille’s hometown] Wind Gap. It is a tough place and Camille is put in tough positions – but at the same time, you feel for her.

Amy Adams in Sharp Objects trailer
Amy Adams in Sharp Objects trailer (YouTube)

Do you think the #MeToo movement has affected how your novels are read?

My novels don’t necessarily have anything to do with sexual harassment, although Amy [the lead character in Gone Girl] does claim she’s been raped as part of a villainous plan, so there is that sexual vein. And there are sexual overtones with Camille debating an underage assault. Certainly, her early sexuality is a part of the story and the question is: Is a girl’s sexuality her own? And at what age does it become her own? These questions are now more relevant in the background of the #MeToo movement.

What conclusions do you come to in the drama?

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What I like about Sharp Objects is the fact that the story isn’t about trying to understand or solve those questions. It’s not saying, ‘There is an answer to this. We’re going to solve this and thereby fix this woman.’ Instead, it’s saying, ‘This is a question that most women actually ask themselves at some point and it’s part of her story.’ Let’s see where it takes us.

Sharp Objects will first air on Monday July 9th at 2am (it will be repeated on the same day at 9pm)