Season 2 of “The Last of Us” will commence on Feb. 12.
Showrunner Craig Mazin disclosed the production start date during A Night in the Writers’ Room, a panel featuring writers from popular drama series moderated by Variety‘s senior TV features editor Emily Longeretta.
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The other panelists included Charlotte Stoudt of “The Morning Show”; Nathan Fielder of “The Curse”; Sonja Warfield of “The Gilded Age”; Fred Golan of “Silo”; Debora Cahn of “The Diplomat”; and Michael Dinner of “Justified: City Primeval.”
Now that the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes have concluded, the other shows will soon be back in production as well. Stoudt hopes that “The Morning Show” will start shooting Season 4 in spring or summer and have been in the room for “four weeks.” “Silo” is currently in production; and “The Diplomat” resumes production on Thursday, Dec. 7.
As for “Justified: City Primeval,” there’s a chance there will be more to come.
“It’s really up to FX and what their needs are,” Dinner said. “Tim [Olyphant] would like to do it, Walton [Goggins] would like to do it. If we have the opportunity to do one more rodeo, it’d be awesome.”
Before we can view mushroom zombies or lavish 19th-century parties on our screens, all of these drama series begin with a blank page. The writers from this diverse set of shows revealed how they put pen to paper to bring their characters’ rich worlds to life.
Stoudt kicked things off by discussing what it was like to join “The Morning Show” on Season 3.
“It’s a show that’s so much about, ‘What does it feel like to be alive at this moment?’,” she said. “And dealing with the fact that the headline about Gaza is next to the headline about the Kardashians — that’s really what you’re trying to capture. So the challenge is really more like, ‘What is the world doing right now? And how can I write about that?'”
Warfield spoke to her working relationship with Julian Fellowes, creator of “The Gilded Age.” The pair are the only two writers on the show.
“We write, we talk on the phone, sometimes we write scenes on the phone,” she shared. “Sometimes we Zoom, but we don’t have anything that’s like a set schedule. It’s just, we both write and then we switch scripts, and we rewrite and he gets the final word and it works really well.”
Meanwhile, Fielder revealed the personal story that inspired his first scripted series “The Curse,” created alongside Benny Safdie.
Upon moving to the U.S. from Canada, he went to buy a cell phone and was asked for money by someone outside of a store. When he said he had none, she said to him, “I curse you.”
“And I don’t believe in this stuff, but I just couldn’t get it out of my head,” Fielder shared. “So after I got my phone, I went to an ATM and I took out $20, and then I went back to the person, handed it to her I said ‘Is the curse gone?’ And she smiled and said ‘Yes.'”
Fielder continued to explain how this interaction led to the idea for his dark comedy on Showtime.
“And so I told Benny [Safdie] this story… it was from that idea of when someone says something to you and it exists in your brain — how real are the thoughts that are just in your brain, but you don’t know how real it actually is. And it just felt so relevant to the world and how I think everyone projects on to other people and sees things in their own way now, so it was just sort of a jumping off point.”
Cahn described her desire to get viewers to press the “next episode” button on Netflix, where “The Diplomat” streams; this was her first time writing for a streaming show versus a broadcast drama.
“So what that ended up doing was creating a much more compressed storytelling timeline,” she said. “It feels much more like a very long movie than it feels like I’m opening up a world and these characters live in it.”
Watch the full conversation above.
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