Gillian Flynn and Marti Noxon Dissect Sharp Objects’ Female Rage
BY ARIANA BACLE
The two executive producers discuss why they brought a story showing women’s anger to the screen.
When Gillian Flynn noticed there were plenty of books about men and violence, but far fewer about female rage, she decided to help rectify that imbalance by writing a novel about women’s anger. That experience is front-and-center in the HBO adaptation of Sharp Objects, which just concluded with a haunting finale that exposed how deep Adora, Camille and Amma’s wounds run.
“There’s a really valuable conversation about people who outwardly seem like they’re functioning, who
From the start, Flynn — who, like Noxon, serves as an executive producer and writer on the series — trusted Noxon partly because Flynn saw how much she cared about the complicated character of Camille. “I knew that she understood Camille in a very keen way and that she wasn’t going to exploit her,” Flynn explains. “I knew she wasn’t going to have Camille do wild, insane and bad things just for pure shock value; she was going to be careful with this character.”
Being sensitive didn’t mean they shied away from showing the uglier parts of Camille, Adora (Patricia Clarkson) and Amma (Eliza
“Women have been told forever that their anger is unattractive and that we should always deal with it really constructively,” Noxon says. “When we can’t, it comes out in these really toxic ways. You see it in both of Adora’s daughters: Amma’s living a split life, and Camille has dealt with it by hurting herself.”
Flynn agrees and notes that each of the three women represents a different era of feminism and how that affects their behavior. “I wanted to write about women who grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, where women were supposed to be primary caregivers and nurturers,” she says, referring to Adora. “With Camille, she’s of my generation, which was kind of the first one to really be brought up under the new freedom that feminism was fighting for, but was still very new and tenuous. And then Amma, who’s of the social media generation.”
But no matter how different Adora, Camille