Michaela Coel‘s hit series I May Destroy You has everyone talking and now the actress is giving fans some insight in to behind-the-scenes negotiations for the series.
Michaela tells Vulture she originally pitched it to Netflix, but apparently, the streaming giant wouldn’t allow her to retain any of the copyright percentage… not even 0.5 percent. So, she turned down the million dollar deal. From Vulture:
Coel recalls one clarifying moment when she spoke with a senior-level development executive at Netflix and asked if she could retain at least 5 percent of her rights. “There was just silence on the phone,” she says. “And she said, ‘It’s not how we do things here. Nobody does that, it’s not a big deal.’ I said, ‘If it’s not a big deal, then I’d really like to have 5 percent of my rights.’ ” Silence. She bargained down to 2 percent, one percent, and finally 0.5 percent. The woman said she’d have to run it up the chain. Then she paused and said, “Michaela? I just want you to know I’m really proud of you. You’re doing the right thing.” And she hung up.
“I remember thinking, I’ve been going down rabbit holes in my head, like people thinking I’m paranoid, I’m acting sketchy, I’m killing off all my agents,” Coel says. “And then she said those words to me, and I finally realized — I’m not crazy. This is crazy.”
The site goes on to say Michaela then pitched the show to BBC and the network gave her everything she wanted…
In fall 2017, she pitched I May Destroy You to Wenger at the BBC, and he replied with an email the next day saying she would have everything she wanted: a seat at the table on the production side, full creative control, and the rights to the work. (HBO came on as a co-producer during development.) Coel was stunned. “I’d been so untrustworthy of the industry that I looked at the email and I thought, I need a day. I wasn’t happy,” she says. She took a beat. Then she went with it. “It’s an amazing email.”
If you haven’t tuned in just yet, watch the official trailer below and get in to it. Michaela’s journey just goes to show Black women that it is essential we all fight for what we want and deserve.