If you’re still in your feelings about ABC’s beloved Scandal coming to an end and Shonda Rhimes throwing up the peace sign to TGIT and taking her talents to Netflix, you’re in for a treat. The New York Times recently caught up with the award-winning screenwriter, producer and author to talk exactly what fans should expect to see form the nine-figure deal she signed with Netflix when leaving ABC Studios last year. Rhimes shared the vision she has for Shondaland at it’s new home. That vision includes her production company growing to a point in the future where fans may not even associate her with the great work that comes from it:
“It would be really amazing to me at some point down the line — not now — if somebody said, ‘There was a Shonda for Shondaland?’”
“It needs to be bigger than me.”
So what should faithful fans of shows like Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away with Murder expect to stream? Rhimes isn’t just limiting herself to drama this go-round and projects include an adaptation of the book “The Warmth Of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson as well as a documentary that gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy’s award-winning reimagining of the classic ballet, The Nutcracker.
Rhimes also shared that days after signing the $300 million deal she was actually at a loss of what to write:
“It wasn’t like I had a treasure trove of ideas in the back of my head that I’d been hiding and saving. So the panic overtook me for a while.”
She goes on to share that for the most part, she wanted Shondaland to not just produce great content, but to be a place where her fellow creatives looked forward to coming and not feel limited in their ideas:
“I wanted the new Shondaland to be a place where we expand the types of stories we tell, where my fellow talented creatives could thrive and make their best work and where we as a team come to the office each day filled with excitement.”
Shondaland headquarters also has a new home in Hollywood’s Raleigh Studios, about a mile from the Netflix headquarters. Rhimes shares with the new home she hopes comes a new creative energy:
“We have this whole dream. There’s going to be a row of offices, and we’re all going to be working on our scripts at the same time. And everyone is going to come out of their offices and scream about how bad their script is: ‘Does anyone know what I’m supposed to do for Act 5?’ And everyone is going to drink Scotch and then run back to work.”
“I don’t think that’s what’s actually going to happen. But it does feel really good to know that it does feel like a very United Artists, creative kind of place.”
You can check out a breakdown of the projects courtesy of ESSENCE below:
Untitled Shonda Rhimes Project
Based on the New York Magazine article How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People by Jessica Pressler. Manhattan makes a new friend like no other. But is she the stuff American dreams are made of or is she New York’s biggest con woman? Is it a con if you enjoy being taken?
Untitled Bridgerton Project
Based on Julia Quinn’s best-selling series of novels, this smart feminist take on Regency England romance unveils the glittering, wealthy, sexual, painful, funny and sometimes lonely lives of the women and men in London’s high society marriage mart as told through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family.
The Warmth of Other Suns
Based on Pulitzer-Prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson’s award-winning book of the same name, this powerful groundbreaking series tracks the decades-long migration of African-Americans fleeing the Jim Crow South in search of a better life in the North and the West between 1916 and 1970. National Humanities Medal recipient, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and 2-time Drama Desk-winning playwright Anna Deavere Smith (EP) is set to adapt.
Pick & Sepulveda
Set in the 1840s against the surreal and sensual backdrop of the then-Mexican state of California, the series tracks the end of an idyllic era there as American forces threaten brutality and war at the border to claim this breathtaking land for its own. Emmy-award writer Janet Leahy (EP) will create the series.
Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change
Netflix and Shondaland have acquired the rights to Ellen Pao’s groundbreaking memoir detailing her life and career, including the lawsuit she brought against her former employer that sparked intense media scrutiny, shook Silicon Valley to its boys’ club core and presaged the Time’s Up movement.
Netflix and Shondaland have acquired the rights to Kate Andersen Brower’s brilliant nonfiction book The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House, which offers a vividly accurate insider’s account of White House residence staffers and the upstairs-downstairs lives they share with the First Families at one of the most famous homes in history.
In this darkly comedic half-hour series, an apocalyptic disaster spares a rag-tag group of teenage girls at sleepaway camp who must then summon their moxie and survival skills to weather the fallout and ensure all that remains of humanity abides by the Sunshine Scout Law.
Hot Chocolate Nutcracker
This documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy’s award-winning reimagining of the classic ballet, The Nutcracker. This staged contemporization – with its inclusive cast of all ages and its blend of dance traditions – has further cemented Debbie Allen’s legacy as one of the greatest forces for good in dance.