My Lady Jane creators Gemma Burgess, Meredith Flynn on the feminist retelling of royal history | Web Series - Hindustan Times

My Lady Jane creators Gemma Burgess, Meredith Flynn on the feminist retelling of royal history

Jun 20, 2024 06:32 PM IST

In this exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, the creators of My Lady Jane talk about capturing the distinct tone of the source material for the new series.

Get ready for My Lady Jane, a feisty new offering from Prime Video starring Emily Bader, Edward Bluemel and Jordan Peters. In this radical retelling of English Royal history, neither does King Henry VIII’s son Edward die of tuberculosis, nor is Lady Jane Grey beheaded.

Emily Bader and Edward Bluemel in a still from My Lady Jane.
Emily Bader and Edward Bluemel in a still from My Lady Jane.

In this exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, creators Meredith Glynn and Gemma Burgess talk at length about the casting, the inspiration for the show, and the choice to retelling history through a feminist lens. (Also read: House of the Dragon's latest episode climax was far worse, more horrible in the book. Here's how)

What about the source material inspired you to adapt it in the first place?

M: We are huge fans of the book and we are huge fans of Lady Jane Grey's story. Which has been made into a film starring Helena Bonham Carter and the story has fascinated people for centuries.

G: We think that Jane Grey as a character, and as a person, is someone who a lot of young women were obsessed with, when they were growing up. And it was no different for us.

M: We were drawn to her story. Here is a young Tudor noble woman who is educated... who was made Queen against her will, and then nine days later, executed.

G: What the book did was so fascinating and compelling that it changed her story so that it had an happy ending, and it was irresistible.

M: It was irresistible because how many times do you look at these stories and see somebody who are maligned, and say, 'Well, f**k that! What if history were different?'

Meredith Glynn, Gemma Burgess and Laurie Macdonald at the London photocall for My Lady Jane.
Meredith Glynn, Gemma Burgess and Laurie Macdonald at the London photocall for My Lady Jane.

The voiceover in the show is so interesting to notice. There's one moment when Jane is contemplating what is going to happen to her and then the voiceover informs that it will be 'marriage, motherhood and death.' It was hilarious. Was it always a part of the show from the beginning?

G: We see the author being the omniscient, bi**y God of our story. It is almost as if it is our voice, our personality; where he doesn't ever say what's going to happen but it gives you context and a little bit of insight.

M: He approaches the characters with love but also makes fun of them, so I think he can be the audience's avatar in the story. We always wanted a narrator because the voice in the book, its tone is so distinct, and clever.

G: We felt that the presence of the narrator would be a really fantastic way to capitalize on that.

A still from the set of My Lady Jane.
A still from the set of My Lady Jane.

Even as the show takes big swings, the costume designs and the period details are kept intact. Tell me a little about these decisions, even the casting feels so on point.

M: Finding Jane was a lot of work. We auditioned so many women, but then Emily sent in a self-tape that she made in her kitchen... and she simply was Jane.

G: She was the one. It was a little like falling in love. You know when you find that match.

M: What's incredible about Emily is that she never lived in England, but her accent is immaculate. A lot of the cast members found out that she wasn't English and they were just genuinely shocked. They asked, 'Where are you from?' and she said, 'California!'

G: Yeah, the cast were so perfect. They walked on to the set and they were those characters. We found Jordan to be perfect for King Edward. He is so intelligent and noble, and had this innate goodness and strength.

I want to end by asking how we have been witnessing a rise in historical dramas, where so many stories are being retold, but in a modern fashion. For instance, The Favourite which came out a few years ago, and now we have Bridgerton. What is fascinating is that history is not just seen through one lens, with so many conflicts and crises still in context now. What are your thoughts on these lines...

G: We feel very strongly about the opportunity that we have... to help people see the world through stories that make them feel emotionally affected and inspired.

M: It is the responsibility of great storytelling to say something important about the world we live in. We were very interested in themes of feminist power, and otherism.

G: But we also wanted to do it with a good deal of entertainment. We hope the show reflects the best that people can be without ignoring their worth.

M: We are intelligent optimists. That's how we would describe ourselves. (smiles)

My Lady Jane premieres on Prime Video on June 27.

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