By Sugandha Rawal
New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) British writer-producer David Farr is narrating the story of “Hanna” through a female gaze, and says women leading the show behind the camera not just influences the narrative, but bring a big difference to the politics of the set as well.
The web series “Hanna” spins a new world from the story of Joe Wright’s acclaimed 2011 film of the same name. Farr, who co-wrote the original feature film, is driving the narrative of the show.
“Although the film was about Hanna, and she was the central character, that (male perspective) was still a very strong thing. It does feel like a male view, and the film was directed by a man,” Farr told IANS when asked about embracing the female grace.
He continued: “We have made a big choice all through the seasons to have female directors for large numbers of the episodes. It’s definitely more than half and I think it makes a big difference. It makes a big difference to the politics of the set. And it was the single easiest and clearest decision we made. We didn’t choose people just because they were women but we made a conscious choice that they are really good, amazing talents. It does bring a different eye and a different voice. It just becomes a creative thing and fun. It’s not that you don’t have to be earnest about it, it’s just that you release different voices. And that’s my simple thing that you just got to release voices of diverse kinds at a high level. Because if you do that, everything changes. And I think we are a part of that process, which I’m proud of.”
Farr, also known for adding his creative vision to series “The Night Manager”, noted that working with talented women has been an eye-opening and learning experience for him.
“In the first season (of ‘Hanna’), I wrote almost every episode myself except one. In the second season, I gave over half the episodes to four other writers and three of them were women. And they sketched out the story about Hanna, and this extraordinary group of young women that she meets who are all destined to become assassins. What they brought was such a kind of more personal take on, you know, what it is to be a woman in the world,” said the writer.
“I can’t feel that. I’ve got two daughters, who are now 20 and 18. So I guess I’ve experienced that secondhand through that. But they felt it in a visceral sense. The way choices are somehow made for you, the way conversations are somehow taken over by men put bluntly, or power structures. And so that was something that they brought to it in a way that was very specific. And I felt I learned a great deal from them as writers. So, they’re bringing a lot to the table and I felt there was a lot to learn from them.”
With a cast led by Esme, Mireille Enos, and Joel Kinnaman, the first season of Amazon Prime Video show “Hanna” narrated the story of a young girl named Hanna, who has lived in a forest and has gained extraordinary physical abilities. It is about her experience with modern reality. It explored the dynamics of a father-daughter bond, emotional issues of a family while highlighting the dilemma of how teenagers grow in the modern world and do they ever fit in. The eight-episode second season follows the journey of Hanna as she evades the pursuit of a “sinister government agency”, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery.
Reflecting back on the thought behind creating the show, Farr said: “The reason I first came up with ‘Hanna’ idea was I had two daughters, who were very young when I was writing the film. And all they were allowed to watch was ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘Sound of Music’. And meanwhile, if you’re a boy, you seem to be able to watch westerns and you could watch gangsters. You could see boys doing everything. And you could see it didn’t seem it was available to young women.
“Now, it has become a big political point, since 2008, or 2009 when I was writing that, and rightly so… It’s not just an action movie or an action TV show. It’s about a person who learns who they are and learns to be what they want to be, but through a thriller and through an action experience. And so yeah, right now with what’s going on in the world, there’s an incredible young energy that is in the world, the moment where young people really, whether it’s race or gender, really are trying to explore and express who they are.
“Suddenly, I think our show has gained a new politics, which is something that is inherent to the show, and I’m excited by the context in which it’s coming out.”
Within weeks of the premiere of its second season, the Esme Creed-Miles starrer action drama series “Hanna” has been renewed for a third season.
“There is a crucial further development of what will happen in the next season in my head, and I know the next stage for the show,” Farr had said before the release of the second season.
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at [email protected])