With a matter of mere weeks to go before the final series airs, fans have just about come to terms with saying goodbye to Girls after almost five years.
Now the team behind the HBO show have let slip a few secrets in a new tell-all interview, such as the only sex scene to get cut, the cast members who tried to quit and why creator Lena Dunham cringes over how she landed the pilot.
But first, the potentially most exciting news for those already mourning the loss of the programme: Girls is set to go feature-length, with Dunham saying in no uncertain terms “Oh, we're doing the movie.”
Yes, a Girls film could be coming to cinemas near you – though perhaps not for a while.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Girls co-showrunner Jenni Konner says: “We feel like no one necessarily needs to hear from us right now. But if someone wants to do the movie, we'll do it.”
And while Dunham has previously said it felt right to end the show in its sixth series, given it followed characters navigating a very particular time period between university and ‘real life’, she says a film wouldn’t try to recreate that: “I'd just want to leave enough space so that we are finding them in a super different place than we left them.”
The show has become known for its unflinching portrayal of sex, far from the softly lit version completely devoid of awkward moments TV usually sells.
However, while it was full of nudity that made headlines, there was one sex scene that was deemed a step too far for transmission.
Executive producer Judd Apatow explains: “We were aware that what we were doing was sexually provocative, and that's what made it interesting and new and fun [...]
“But then we had a scene with a conclusion shot…”
Dunham clarifies: “It was actually cum arcing through a shot.”
Turns out the network wasn’t on board with that, as Apatow adds: “HBO said, ‘If this is in the show, we could lose our license.’ We were like, ‘Oh my God, we've actually found the line at HBO.’”
The conversation leads them to address the sex scene that caused some controversy – one between Adam (Adam Driver) and Natalia (Shiri Appleby) which sparked discussions about consent and the line between bad sex and sexual assault.
Konner admits she was “surprised” by the discussions around rape, describing her perception of the scene as “a fully consensual bummer of a sex scene”, but says she was “thrilled for the feedback”.
Meanwhile Dunham says the scene was based on events in her own life and that “human sexuality is so complicated”, though misses the mark in her explanation of why the scene couldn’t be interpreted as rape – saying that as a survivor of rape herself, she didn’t recognise it as sexual assault because it didn’t fit exactly with her own experience.
She tells the publication: “Not to make this too personal, but the show is very much based on my experiences, and at that point I hadn't publicly talked about being sexually assaulted. But my thought when people had that reaction was like, ‘Oh I've been raped, and that's not what it feels like.’”
They also address the heavy criticism the show faced for its lack of diversity, and Konner actually admits she knew it “would be an issue, but I didn't think the criticism would be at the level it was”, insisting they were just too “focused on the struggle of women and the fact that we'd gotten four women on TV” (Dunham last year agreed the criticism was “totally valid” and that “looking back, I never want to see another poster that’s four white girls.”).
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While fans probably can’t imagine a Girls without Jessa, the team go on to discuss how Jemima Kirke, who plays her, very nearly left the show after realising the fame that would come with it, even asking Dunham, “Could you start writing me out?” after the first series.
Kirke says in the interview: “I was a bit oblivious to the show's success, maybe even on purpose because I was trying to deny that this would happen.”
Dunham, who recounts that she panicked over having convinced her childhood friend, who’d just had a baby no less, to take part in the show, adds: “She didn't understand that she had a contract for six years. I was like, ‘You're on the poster.’
“I think Jemima was scared. She thought it was gonna be like [Dunham’s film] Tiny Furniture, where it was us messing around and then we got some nice attention at a party.”
Konner adds: “Honestly, until the third or fourth season, Jemima wouldn't even refer to herself as an actor. She called herself a painter. So it was about getting her to admit that she was good at it and that she enjoyed it.”
Mamet, who plays Shoshanna, agrees Girls’ success took them by surprise, but says despite the accolades, the female cast members still face sexism in the industry, telling The Hollywood Reporter she feels women are pigeonholed more: “None of us expected this show to do what it did, and it has absolutely elevated all of us in a huge way, but I think it's still much harder for a woman than a man.
“The success that Adam has had is indicative – that's no slight to his talent and his ability, but Allison [Williams] and I are still fighting tooth and nail for any part we get, and we both have to fight very hard for any part that is different in any way from our role on Girls.”
Whether with its controversy, its humourous reflection of millennial concerns or its refreshing attitude to body image, there’s no doubt Girls has made an impact since its first airing in 2012.
Which is why it’s a good job that show execs managed to see past Dunham’s self-described “pretentious and horrifying” pitch-slash-poem, of which she now says: “It's the worst pitch you've ever read […] but I remember writing it, sitting on the floor listening to Tegan and Sara in my underwear, being like, ‘I'm a genius.’”
Perhaps not far off.
Read the full interview, plus Dunham’s pitch speech in its entirety at hollywoodreporter.com.
Main image: HBO