Diablo Cody regrets The United States Of Tara's first season. But no need to dwell: With the Juno team, Cody is working on Young Adult, about "a thirtysomething, divorced writer in Minneapolis" who tries to woo her married-with-a-kid ex-boyfriend.
Luckily, Jennifer's Body's poor box-office showing doesn't seem to have tarnished Cody in Hollywood — in addition to this project, she's adapting the Sweet Valley High books and The Taming Of The Shrew.
Young Adult doesn't have a director yet, let alone a cast, but it's being produced by Mandate, which brought us Whip It!. John Malkovich is executive producing; his production company is also behind Mindy Kaling's forthcoming romantic comedy. It's a critical mass of women-driven films!
Here's what Cody told New York about the movie:
I'm working on a movie about a woman who's stalking her high-school sweetheart. It has elements of humor, but it's pretty serious and fucked up. You don't get to see women be antiheroes that often, where it's like somebody like Mickey Rourke, who gets a comeback in The Wrestler. It's rarer that you'll have a studio say, "Let's have an actress come back and be ugly!"
Cody repeated her previous gripe about the marketing of Jennifer's Body, with new ammunition this time: Amanda Seyfried's recent box office successes. But her latest round of frankness was reserved for The United States Of Tara, the show she created at Showtime that recently premiered in its second season. Of the first season, she said, "I thought to myself, objectively, I wouldn't watch this show."
Why not? She quickly gave props to Showtime and Steven Spielberg, and essentially blamed herself for not asserting enough of her vision:
It's actually much harder to develop a TV show than I had anticipated. I kind of came into it completely clueless and I treated the first season like film school, to learn as much as I could and talk to these veteran writers that we have in the room. And really, it's never your show, unless you're an incredibly strong personality, a visionary like Matthew Weiner or Tina Fey. So it took an entire season for me to feel like, okay, I actually have a knowledge base I can actually draw from now and, it's like, my involvement isn't going to spoil the broth.
So basically, it was a confidence issue, something you wouldn't necessarily expect from the blustery Cody. It's a fascinating glimpse into a show's dynamics and how even an overnight success can't necessarily immediately master said issues. Both Matthew Weiner and Tina Fey had worked on the inside of television for years before they ascended and put their inimitable stamps on Mad Men and 30 Rock. That sort of adeptness in navigating institutional hurdles to assert your own vision doesn't come easy for anyone — and it's easy to see how it would be harder for an outsider, particularly a female one, to do so. Let's see what the second season brings.