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Romantic movies helped launch Anne Hathaway’s career, but they’ve largely disappeared from theaters in the past several years.
Streaming platforms have taken up some of that slack, with Netflix rom-coms like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Always Be My Maybe reaching big audiences. Amazon’s newest entry in the genre, the anthology series Modern Love, features Hathaway and a star-studded cast dramatizing stories from the long-running New York Times feature of the same name.
“We know the ins and outs of romantic films so well. We’re almost ahead of them,” Hathaway said Saturday at the Television Critics Association’s press tour. “At the moment, as audience members I’m not sure the three-act structure is as satisfying as it was 20 years ago. So for me it was really exciting — this was a way to tell a genre of story that I love telling in a way that felt really fresh.”
Cristin Milioti, who stars in another episode, said that the “intimate” medium of TV serves stories like those in Modern Love well. She said she recently binged The Office — “Have you guys heard of it?” she joked — and felt “bereft” watching the ups and downs of Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski) over the course of the show.
“It’s in your bedroom or your living room,” Milioti said. “When you watch something at home, you feel like these people are with you. … I was watching these people fall in love and go through these things in their lives, and they were in my house. These kinds of stories [in Modern Love] lend themselves to that.”
Daniel Jones, who edits “Modern Love” for the Times and is a consulting producer on the series, said there are about 750 columns in the newspaper’s archive. Choosing the eight stories for the first season came down to him, showrunner John Carney (Once, Sing Street) and Amazon executives picking favorites, then figuring out which ones “had enough in them to really move a narrative forward” in each half-hour episode.
The writers of each “Modern Love” essay used in the show were paid for the use of their stories, Jones said, and involved to varying degrees in the episodes. Hathaway said she talked extensively to Terri Cheney, the author of the column her story is based on, while Milioti opted not to contact the woman whose story she was telling.
The cast of Modern Love also includes Sofia Boutella, Gary Carr (who stars opposite Hathaway), Olivia Cooke, Brandon Victor Dixon, Tina Fey, John Gallagher Jr., Andy Garcia, Julia Garner, Catherine Keener, Dev Patel, Andrew Scott, John Slattery and Shea Whigham. Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe) and Tom Hall (Sensation) each wrote and directed episodes, and Emmy Rossum (Shameless) directed an episode penned by the late Audrey Wells (Under the Tuscan Sun).
Carney executive produces with Todd Hoffman and Sam Dolnick and Choire Sicha of The New York Times. Trish Hoffman is a co-executive producer. The series comes from Amazon Studios and Storied Media.
Modern Love is set to premiere Oct. 18. A teaser for the show is below.
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