Broadway Books

Why 'Gone Girl' Creator's 'Sharp Objects' Will Be 'True Detective' For Women

Showrunner Marti Noxon explains how the show came about - and how it's inspired by personal experience.

While most of the world has seen -- and read -- "Gone Girl," two other adaptations of author Gillian Flynn's novels are in various stages of development. Her second novel, "Dark Places," has also been made into a movie, though there's currently no scheduled release date.

As for her debut novel, "Sharp Objects"? The tale of a journalist heading to her hometown to cover a bizarre series of murders is going a non-traditional route, as an ongoing television series developed by former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" writer, and current "Girlfriends Guide To Divorce" creator Marti Noxon.

When MTV News hopped on the phone with Noxon (ostensibly to discuss the origin of the "Buffy" phrase "Big Bad"), we also took the chance to discuss Noxon's -- and Flynn's -- choice to expand the novel into a series, as well as how it will handle some of its more difficult subject matter.

MTV News: Other than "Girlfriends Guide," you're also working on "Sharp Objects" right now, right?

Marti Noxon: I am! In fact, I put myself in writer’s jail... Which means I checked into a relatively peaceful hotel, and I can’t leave until the script is done. [Laughs]

MTV News: The novel deals with some really difficult subject matter, specifically with cutting and some rather troubling family dynamics. How are you handling that for the show? Are you doing a lot of research on the subjects, or are you pulling from a novel?

Noxon: Gillian and I... She’s a really wonderful person to work with, and she’s really generous. So we’ve had pretty in depth conversations, just she and I, about the underlying themes of the book.

She said the greatest thing to me, she said she kind of envisioned it like a Peckinpah Western where a gunslinger comes back to her home town to root out the evil... And in this case I keyed in right away to the fact that this story is about woman-on-woman violence. It exists in a world where it’s not perpetrated by men.

It’s not even a reaction to men, this is the violence that lives inside of women -- which I think is an innate quality but not often attributed to women. So it’s a pretty radical thesis, that woman have an impulse to do physical and emotional harm to others... Maybe not as much as men because they are not filled with testosterone, but that it’s there. And that’s the book was about to me.

Fortunately for my writing, and unfortunately for my life... I’m not stranger to that. So I didn’t have to do a lot of research. And I'm no stranger to self-harm... Fortunately, I’m pretty over that, but it was a big part of my early life... So there you go.

MTV News: I'm sorry to hear that, of course, but it certainly sounds like you're diving wholeheartedly into the themes of the novel... The finale, in particular, is pretty heartbreaking. Given what you've already said, I imagine you're not backing off from that?

Noxon: Were not going to back off from anything. There’s been a couple of times when I said something to Gillian, and she’s like, "Dude, that’s dark!" And I'm like, "Who are you to talk?" [Laughs]

I think that in this era of "True Detective," and these series that really delve into some pretty gnarly places... That’s where TV really excels. There’s a tolerance for particularly dark female characters.

I mean, "True Detective" took it [that way] with these male characters, but you see a lot of television, "Top of The Lake," and lots of other stuff where these female characters are pretty effed up... "The Killing" -- you can just go on and on with all these female detectives and crime solvers who are pretty dark.

I actually was initially the person who went to the producers and said, "This is a TV show, not a movie – don’t let it go into that good night on film, because I feel like you’re going to get a bigger audience on television."

"Sharp Objects" does not currently have a premiere date, but you can watch Noxon's "Girlfriends Guide to Divorce" on Bravo.