One of Sharon Horgan’s goals in an already illustrious career as a showrunner and actress (including beloved British series like “Pulling” and “Catastrophe”) was to create more varied and interesting roles for women. AppleTV+’s “Bad Sisters” gave her the chance to do it five times, in a twisted and addictive story about siblings who come together after the mysterious death of an undesirable husband. Her (She’s not called “The Prick” on the show for nothing.)
First off, congratulations on making probably the funniest drama series of all time. Narrative genre lines really seem to be blurring on TV, don’t they?
I’m just going to take a compliment and not be Irish about it. [Laughs] You know, I come from a sitcom. So that’s where I felt most comfortable, but I always felt that dramatic storylines and dealing with topics that wouldn’t necessarily be considered sitcom fodder was a big part of what I did. When I started writing “Pulling” with Dennis Kelly, we were very nervous about some of the things we wanted to deal with. But now it’s incredibly freeing, you know? It’s a sky-the-limit kind of thing.
When did you first see “Clan”, the adaptation of the Belgian series “Bad Sisters”, and when did you know you wanted to rework it?
When Rob Delaney and I were working on “Catastrophe,” [AppleTV+ head] Jay Hunt came up to me and asked, “How about a drama?” I just thought, “How do I take on someone else’s world and make it my own?” But in all honesty, I watched the pilot episode and got the gist of what the narrative would be. And there were five sisters at the center of it all. And I thought, “Okay, go ahead.” Because you have to develop and grow as a writer, and I stayed in my safety lane.
As a co-creator and writer, you probably could have chosen any role in this story. What made you choose the older sister, Eva?
At first I didn’t know, and we talked a lot about it. We all wanted to play Bibi [played by Sarah Greene]because he has an eyepatch and he shoots a bow and arrow and it’s all very exciting. [Laughs] But with Eva, I was drawn to the story of the older sister who had to compromise and put other people first and whose life got a little bit away from her, and things didn’t necessarily pan out. But there is a lot of authority and love there.
I’m not sure how the show’s viewing trajectory went in the UK, but in the US, “Bad Sisters” had the most incredible slow burn. People were still watching and commenting on it almost six months after it first aired, which almost never happens on broadcast TV.
When it first came out, we were like, “Oh great, nobody’s watching.” [Laughs] I think what worked in our favor is that it came out weekly, and because of the suspenseful, suspenseful nature, people started talking about it. I love the idea of people expecting something every week. There are some things that really need to be developed and benefit from that, so it becomes event TV.