Everything Now exec producer reveals key detail that wasn’t in original script
"We just felt there was an opportunity to broaden it."
Netflix's Everything Now, a new comedy-drama created and written by Ripley Parker, isn't just the story of Mia Polanco, a 16-year-old who is re-adjusting to life back at home following treatment for an eating disorder.
It also explores the impact her illness continues to have on those closest to her, as well as their own own trials and tribulations.
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, executive producer Sian McWilliams said that the expanding of Mia's family and friends was the "biggest evolution" the script underwent.
"When I optioned it, I completely fell in love with the character of Mia, but it was quite a singular story, " she explained.
"It was the first thing she [Parker] had written and it was based on her own experience, but we also fell in love with the other characters and just felt there was more to build on, that there was an opportunity to explore the other facets of mental health and all of the other characters' stories."
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Director Alyssa McClelland added: "Mia’s story is obviously the driving force, but as you go on, you realise each character's got their own weight as well."
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But as well as being "intrigued" by Mia's best friends and her family, McWilliams also said that it was important to "break the POV, which initially wasn't there in the script", continuing: "So we realise what Mia thinks is, 'Everyone's got their sh*t together and all my mates are nailing being a teenager and I'm behind.'
"When actually, even beyond being a teenager, we all know that everyone is still figuring it out. So we just felt there was an opportunity to broaden it."
Part of that involved giving Mia's brother Will his own episode.
"That came out of the writers' room and hearing experiences of people who have a sibling or friend, who know somebody who'd gone through it," said McWilliams.
"That was something that wasn't there in the original idea that we felt was so important to show."
McWilliams also explained that another key focus of Everything Now was to shatter the "biggest misconceptions around eating disorders".
She explained: "I think the biggest thing for all of us was about it showing the internal journey. One of the biggest misconceptions around eating disorders is about the fact that it's a physical appearance thing, and if you get that right, you're going to be happy.
"I've never met anyone that's had an eating disorder that ever turned around, looked at themselves in the mirror and said, 'Yeah, nailed it.'
"And so we never wanted to show, even in the flashbacks, her looking physically different other than what we did with the makeup and things that do happen, like hair growth and her nails being damaged.
"It was about, 'How do we portray the fact that this is a mental health disorder?' It's about your brain. It's about what's going on there. And I think the voice-over was obviously a really key part of that.
"That was really our focus - of making it about the psychological journey, rather than how she looks on screen."
Anyone affected by an eating disorder can find help and support by visiting Beat, or calling the charity's helpline on 0808 801 0677.
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