'Transparent's' Jill Soloway on Her Inspiration: "Who the Heck Is Lena Dunham? Where Did She Come From?"
"Everybody was saying to me, 'Have you seen this girl? She's just like you — except younger and much more successful and she's living her vision, and you're not.'"
Transparent creator Jill Soloway finally accomplished her goal of being a showrunner, landing the top gig for the Diablo Cody-created United States of Tara, but she realized something quickly. "I really wanted to create my own show, and it just felt like I couldn't get a show made," she said during The Hollywood Reporter's Comedy Showrunner Roundtable. "I had a pilot passed on, and another pilot passed on."
Soloway, who has credits on acclaimed series like Six Feet Under, said her low point "was seeing Girls get picked up and seeing Tiny Furniture saying, 'OK, who the heck is Lena Dunham? Where did she come from on my watch?' Everybody was saying to me, 'Have you seen this girl? She's just like you — except younger and much more successful and she's living her vision, and you're not.' [That] is what I heard. So I decided to make [Afternoon Delight] so I would be able to have that sort of calling card about what my voice was."
She now had the first of two great things that helped her get Transparent made. "Another great thing was my parent coming out as trans. That helped."
"At first my parent was really nervous about what it would mean to have that kind of publicity, and over the past year I think the way the trans community has been evolving and the trans story in our culture has been evolving in the past year so strongly, has made it feel like it was the time and place for this show and our family happens to have found ourselves at this moment as part of this movement."
Soloway joined fellow comedy showrunners Kenya Barris (Black-ish), Jay Duplass (Togetherness), Robert Carlock (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Steve Levitan (Modern Family) and Alec Berg (Silicon Valley) for the Roundtable, where the writer-producers discussed the profound impact of their shows on their respective demographics.
The full Comedy Showrunner Roundtable can be seen on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter when it premieres Sunday, Sept. 6, at 11 a.m. ET/PT on Sundance TV and HollywoodReporter.com.
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