Jane Campion on Inspiration Behind New TOTL Series
Fans of the critically acclaimed crime drama Top of the Lake will be eagerly awaiting its return at the end of this month – but writer New Zealand-born Jane Campion admits to the Observer that she never intended to make another series.
“The number one reason Gerard [Lee, co-creator of the show] and I wrote a second season was because we were really encouraged by people’s responses,” Campion says. “In the first season, Gerard and I did exactly what we wanted and the fact that people embraced that and really responded to it was deeply encouraging. Of course, the challenge then was to find something that would stimulate us in the same way.”
The Guardian’s Sam Wollaston described the first series as “hauntingly beautiful, genuinely original” and “fabulous” and the Telegraph said it was “without doubt the most original TV drama of the year so far, and possibly the best”.
The new series, Top of the Lake: China Girl, ramps up the star factor – Elizabeth Moss as Griffin returns to Sydney to reconnect with a daughter, Mary, whom she gave up for adoption and who was raised by the controlling Julia, played by Nicole Kidman. Then a suitcase containing the body of a young Asian girl washes up on Bondi beach. Griffin also gets an unwanted new partner, played by Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie. And there is an extra dash of Campion – her daughter, Alice Englert, a rising star in her own right, plays the rebellious and precocious teenager Mary.
This time Campion and Lee have moved the action from the small lakeside community in New Zealand’s South Island, which was the focus of the first series, to the bustling streets and bright lights of Sydney for a story focusing on migrant sex workers, online misogyny and the nature of motherhood.
“I really liked the idea of setting it in Sydney and making it very much about women and their bodies and the sex industry, in particular the experiences of migrants within the industry,” says Campion. “Just what the reality of the job might be like – not the way it’s usually presented with sex in bikinis or whatever but just the ordinariness of it, how you do it and earn money from it and keep earning money from it.”
Original article by Sarah Hughes, The Observer, July 9, 2017.
Photo by Karen Robinson.