A six-part drama about an assassin who also happens to be a transgendered woman isn’t something you see every day on TV. For a start Hit And Miss, Sky Atlantic’s first original drama series, combines enough elements for at least two TV shows, a fact that could spell genre-buster – or mess.
Earlier this week CultBox went along to the premiere, Q&A session and after-party at London’s Mayfair Hotel to find out whether the creative team behind the show have pulled off the tricky juggling act they’ve set themselves.
Creator Paul Abbott (Shameless) and writer Sean Conway have found a crafty way to connect the two quite disparate elements of his script; the transgender angle and the killer angle.
When the show’s protagonist, cold-blooded assassin Mia (Big Love’s Chloë Sevigny) learns that her ex from a heterosexual relationship she had before she transitioned as a woman is dead and that she herself fathered a son with her, the news catapults her into a totally new identity as a mother, rather than a father, to her ex’s children – an experience that could give her the confidence to let go of her callous past as a cold-blooded killer too. But only if she can stop the past catching up with her.
All this is set up quite clearly in the confident opening episode, with Mia already showing her vulnerable side as she tries to find her feet among her ex’s hostile children, townspeople who look askance at anyone who’s different and a bullying landlord (Vincent Regan). As you’d expect, she’s also mean as hell – a fact that raises the possibility she’ll end up dragging the children into her own dark world rather than escaping into theirs.
There isn’t a lot of dialogue and the pace never feels rushed or frenetic under Hettie Macdonald’s unobtrusive direction. Sevigny delivers a subdued and simmering performance as Mia, possibly aided by her own experiences during filming. ‘It was like doing a small independent film in America but for almost five months where usually it would be four weeks,’ she comments.
On wearing the prosthetic penis she quips, ‘I hated it, it was an awful experience,’ but the ‘nude’ shots are brief and delicate. As producer Nicola Shindler says, ultimately the show ‘wasn’t about being provocative or extreme, which it was, but about family. The killing and the prosthetic penis will only take you so far… ultimately it’s about the heart.’
‘I went for the full five-course meal,’ executive producer Paul Abbott says of his decision to take on such a risky project, but he seems to have found the right team to deliver it to viewers in a digestible form.
Watch an interview with Chloë Sevigny…
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