Gennifer Hutchison, who is known for her work on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul and is currently one of the writers on Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV show, has shared some fascinating behind-the-scenes insight on her process.
In a Twitter Q&A, Hutchison spoke about a number of key topics in the writing field, one of which was writing for fans. Lord of the Rings has one of the biggest fandoms in all of entertainment, and from the sound of it, Hutchison and her team want to “subvert expectations.” To be fair, Hutchison is speaking generally about her writing process, so her response may not be specific to Lord of the Rings, but it’s an interesting response all the same.
“Every fan is different. There is no universal fan expectation of anything,” Hutchison said. “Some fans are just louder. So you have to go with the story you feel is best, that people will love even if it isn’t what they thought they wanted. And yeah, you want to subvert expectations.”
Someone also asked Hutchison about keeping a show on budget, and she said this is not always easy, as certain elements of a show can end up becoming more expensive than envisioned. Again, she’s not talking specifically about The Lord of the Rings here, but it’s not hard to imagine a show like Lord of the Rings with its grand scale and backing of one of the biggest companies on earth in Amazon, that budget would be something on her mind.
“No matter how hard you work to keep story on budget, something ALWAYS ends up more expensive than you think it will,” Hutchison said. “And it is almost NEVER something you anticipated. Also often let the line producer know if something pricey is coming up so you can get a jump on it asap.”
Hutchison also spoke about diversity in the writers’ room. She said writers’ rooms are “overwhelmingly white.” Some have been “more representative,” but in general, most writers’ rooms “need to do better,” Hutchison said. “It IS getting a little better, and most of my colleagues are making actual efforts to make rooms more representative,” she said.
The showrunner hires the writing team for a project. Hutchison pointed out that she’s never been a showrunner, but she called for writers’ rooms to hire more people of color.
“I have never been a showrunner, so I’ve never hired a room, so I can’t say from a place of experience. BUT there needs to be more development of POC writers so they can ascend in greater numbers,” Hutchison said. “You have to be willing to take chances on people and look outside the ‘lists.'”
Hutchison responded to many more questions about the writing process, and given her background writing some of TV’s most celebrated shows, it’s well worth a look at her replies.
Production on the Lord of the Rings TV show has stopped due to the COVID-19 crisis, and there is no word just yet as to when it will begin again.