There were indeed multiple personalities on the “United States of Tara” panel, the show about a wife and mother openly living with dissociative identity disorder. The new Showtime series stars Toni Collette, John Corbett, Rosemarie Dewitt and executive producers Diablo Cody and Alexa Junge were among the group at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. Steven Spielberg, who originated the show’s concept, opened the presentation.
Here are the highlights.
Who is the creator of the series?
Diablo Cody: Original the idea came from Steven Spielberg and I fleshed out and created the characters and world.
Is this an extreme of someone who existed? Or is it a fantastic case for entertainment purposes.
Diablo Cody: This is not the kind of series that you can base on imagination. The behavior of Tara seems hard to believe. There are certainly people who live their lives this way. This is not a flight of fancy in any way. In this case, I wanted to make sure it was completely grounded.
Toni Collette: I didn’t want to make fun of this disorder. This show is based in reality.
What attracted you to this project?
Toni Collette: I never had any aspirations to work in TV, but I picked up this script and read it immediately and as soon as I closed the last page, I turned to my husband and said I had to do this. It was so delicious to read. It’s a dream for an actor to play so many parts.
Is the tone comical or serious?
Alex Junge: That’s one of the beauties of being at Showtime — the freedom to cross-breed, a real willingness to be as funny as we want and as dark as we need to be. That’s thrilling creatively. It represents the real world better than a real delineated funny or not.
Diablo Cody: Tonally it felt limitless to me. We were able to deal with comic situations in their lives and tragic situations. It felt more like life and less lie a genre.
Who is Toni’s favorite “personality” to play?
Toni Collette: I can’t make a decision about who I like the most. I enjoy playing all of them. They all represent different parts of Tara. I wanted to make them complete individuals.
Darryl Frank (EP): You will see new one emerge by the end of the season.
“United States of Tara” premieres Jan. 19 at 10 p.m. on Showtime. See a preview of the new series below.