Nuala Quinn-Barton caught up with Ariel whist Filming his new TV Show ‘Misunderstood’ in Cleveland.
Ariel, its great to meet you, tell me a little bit about the show!
The show ‘Misunderstood’ centers around four friends that grew up together since childhood and they’re now trying to navigate their 30’s in the dumpster fire that is the 2020’s.
Where did you get your inspiration to write this?
The show has a wonderful eclectic feel like That 70’s Show for instance and the pranks and hijinks the friends get up to is sprinkled in with some of the camaraderie of ‘How I Met Your Mother’. I was heavily inspired by Donald Glover’s Atlanta and the brilliance of how the show was shot and written and I wanted to infuse my vision with some of that because there’s nothing more powerful than relatable characters. Or nothing more powerful than characters that you feel you can grow with.
The Characters seem very relatable, tell me a little about them!
You have Jay who is a lovable pothead who works as a registered nurse and he’s very much the heart and Center of the friend group. You have Lynn who is very much a mama bear in some ways with Jay, but she is the Tomboy of the group who doesn’t take shit but she’s also a wonderful person struggling to find her way. You have Fuller who feels like a failure at times as a College Dropout from Law School and is struggling to find a way to get back to himself while trying to get out of the shadow of his father. And lastly you have Joey who is kind of a big brother to everyone, he’s very wise, very quiet, but also capable of joining in on some of the fun while dealing out some level of wisdom sometimes when it’s needed. But Joey has his own demons and we see that throughout
The main goal for me as the writer, director, show runner, is that I want there to be characters that people can grow with but also I want the show to almost feel like warm chicken noodle soup when you have a cold.
And we all I think can understand that feeling of curling up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of soup and feeling comforted and taken care of. I also wanted to feel like you’re coming home to friends, to people you’ve grown up with.
I love that these characters are so layered!
Yes the different layers that we bring into focus for Joey for instance who struggles with borderline personality disorder, or Lynn with the emotional and mental abuse that she suffered from a mother with narcissistic personality disorder. The whole show I want to have some level and foundation of realism because we are all out here struggling with something whether it be poverty, mental illness, or unpacked trauma that we are trying to work through and at the same time we are trying to make ends meet.
Stills from ‘Misunderstood’
What sort of budget will you need for the entire Season?
Right now although we are able to shoot this Pilot Episode, we’re looking for a budget of roughly 2 to 3 mil to successfully take care of the cast and crew but also have the resources available to do the show justice with these characters. I firmly believe even if I had nothing to do with this project that from seeing the script and seeing the first episode that I think this is something people will grow to love and relate to, and feel like they’re part of something special.
Wonderful, you are very talented to pull the look and feel of the Pilot together and I’m sure it will be very successful! I hear you also have a Movie in the works
Yes ‘SKIN DEEP’ The story follows FBI Special Agent John Blackbird as he is in the midst of hunting for a serial killer that the local newspapers have dubbed the “Tri-State Skinner.” This killer has been going around hunting people down and murdering them and taking their skin. As the story progresses John is assigned a rookie agent that he reluctantly has to take on in the middle of this investigation and we see the dynamic between them grow as well as we see the events that lead to these worlds colliding.
Wow this sounds gorey!
The story will have gore as every horror film has to have some level of Gore and violence but we also wanted to inject a palatable story that we think people can attach themselves to the characters with.
There are some elements from ‘Texas Chainsaw’ and some of the other Classics that people have grown up with, we wanted to make something a little different to a traditional slasher movie and give it more of a psychological thrill as well with the beauty of the early 2000’s. So there is going to be this richness to the way it’s shot. My cinematographer David Wells and I have had many conversations about how we were heavily inspired by certain A24 films in the way they were shot and we loved some of the brilliance of their use of color and the palette they use with it.
Ariel, it sounds tremendous, and I’m looking forward to the success of your vision for both projects!