Chewing Gum star Michaela Coel may have gained her cross over success thanks to Netflix, but after the deal surrounding her new series, I May Destroy You, left her at a disadvantage the British star is explaining why both BBC and HBO are now the series’ new home.
During an interview with Vulture, Michaela Coel details why the partnership with Netflix ended after the launch of her new show due to the negotiation for placement leaving her with no rights to the show.
Recalling a conversation she had asking Netflix if she could keep at least five percent, Michaela said:
“There was just silence on the phone. And [the senior development executive at Netflix] said, ‘It’s not how we do things here. Nobody does that, it’s not a big deal.’ I said, ‘If it’s not a big deal, then I’d really like to have five percent of my rights.’”
After being me with silence and experiencing the same setback as with her breakout show Chewing Gum, Coel states that she attempted to bargain her percentage down even lower to keep the business relationship strong but was met with continued resistance causing her to look elsewhere regarding a platform for the new show—a decision that the female Netflix representative seemingly co-signed with noting that she was “proud” of Coel.
“I remember thinking, ‘I’ve been going down rabbit holes in my head, like people thinking I’m paranoid, I’m acting sketchy, I’m killing off all my agents’. And then she said those words to me, and I finally realised — I’m not crazy. This is crazy.”
I May Destroy You, a series based off Coel’s personal experience of being sexually assaulted during the making of Chewing Gum, showcases Coel’s skills in the midst of turmoil after the actress ad producer wrote all 12 episodes of the series, in addition to co-directing nine episodes.
While Coel maintains that there is no bad blood between herself and Netflix, she did add that the experience helped her become more confident in her work and who she resulting in her having a major voice in the decisions pertaining to the show with BBC and HBO.
Despite the creative setbacks, Coel maintains that I May Destroy You play. Therapeutic role in her real life adding that even with all of the drama, she wouldn’t have her creative path turn out any other way.
“It’s a very small feeling,” Coel said. “I finished, and the sadness of finishing and the enjoyment of having done it sit side by side. My version of this is life. I feel as though I am so sad to die and leave, because I had such a great time living. I’m like, ‘Oh, it was so fun!’ Look at all the things that I learned! Oh my God! And those painful bits! Wow! Fun! Now I’m at the end and it’s sad to go. Because it’s amazing.”
Check out the interview in it’s entirety here.