One thing that didn’t change from the book? The sex. New London is a promiscuous society, something that Wiener says was always going to be part of the show, even when it was being developed for network TV rather than Peacock, which, as a streaming service, can show more than viewers might otherwise see while channel-surfing.
“I think [executives] realized there was no way to adequately serve the idea of New London without being able to show how New Londoners achieve pleasure and how they spend their time and how their attitudes in terms of modesty and sexuality are different than us,” Wiener says. But, in perhaps another way of showing how our culture has evolved, behind-the-scenes, he stresses that the series’ intimacy coordinator, Ita O’Brien, was essential to bringing New London to the screen safely, respectfully, and consensually.
“She empowered everybody and everyone felt really secure, and it kind of demystified [the sex and nude scenes] in a way that allowed everybody to kind of be free in the way that New Londoners would be,” Wiener says, also complimenting his actors for being “brave enough to go there.”
All of this results in a version of Brave New World that feels both of-the-moment and indebted to its trailblazing, nearly century-old book. And, before you ask, Wiener is aware of the irony that, ultimately, Brave New World, a work about a populace who have been made complacent with titillating pleasure and entertainment, is now yet another new series on yet another streaming service.
“We don't expect that irony to be lost on the audience either,” Wiener says with a laugh. He actually leaned into it. The fake commercials for The Savage Lands and new varieties of Soma were intended to blend seamlessly with real commercials, back when Brave New World was being developed for ad-supported TV.
“On some level, we are part of what Huxley was concerned about,” Wiener says. “At the same time, I hope ultimately that awareness and that intentional irony allows people to ask the questions that I think Huxley would want them to ask.”
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