‘Sweetbitter’ author Stephanie Danler knows the series has cast the perfect actors to play the characters she created. She talked EXCLUSIVELY with us alongside stars Ella Purnell and Caitlin Fitzgerald about TV’s hot new show!
Sweetbitter is going from your bookshelf to your TV screen. The new Starz series, premiering May 6, is based on Stephanie Danler’s delicious best-selling novel. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Stephanie and the two women, Ella Purnell and Caitlin Fitzgerald, who play the two biggest roles in her book, Tess and Simone. In order to do Stephanie’s book justice, getting the right actors to play Tess, Simone, and the others was key. Stephanie knew from the moment the person walked into the room. “My stomach flipped for everyone that we cast. I really think it’s an instinctual gut reaction when someone walks in the room. I had no doubts,” she told HollywoodLife.
For Ella, it wasn’t hard to get into the mindset of Tess because she is Tess. “I was living the experience as Tess was. It was my first time in New York; my first time doing TV,” Ella said in our interview. “I was in this new place with these new people doing everything for the first time and completely freaking out. It was the easiest job I’ve ever had to act because I was just playing myself.”
Caitlin added: “I knew a lot of women like Simone when I was Tess/Ella’s age who I idealized. Who, to me, seemed like they were living this perfect bohemian, free life. So it was amazing to play the women that I had worshipped when I was a young woman. But I also loved that Simone has this darker, sadder, more vulnerable side to her.”
The show follows Tess as she charts a path for herself in New York City. She winds up working at an upscale restaurant in Manhattan and faces constant trials and tribulations along the way. While New York City is a place full of opportunity, it can be a lonely place. Sweetbitter will show both sides to the Big Apple. “We really wanted this to be a love letter to New York, but as real as possible,” Stephanie told HollywoodLife. “That includes the grit and ugliness and also the loneliness. I think that you don’t move here and magically make a ton of friends. You spend a lot of time eating alone in your room, especially when you’re starting out. But that’s part of the process that makes you a better New Yorker.”