Interview with “Skins” writer Jack Thorne

AE: And then generation two rolled around. Did you choose Naomi or
did Naomi choose you?

JT: Bryan asked me to get involved
I’d left the show at the end of series two to do my own things like Scouting
Book
because production deadlines were getting tight.
Atiha [Sen Gupta, co-writer of Naomi's episode] wrote the first four
drafts; I wrote the last four. I did change quite a lot added
in characters and plot but the tone of the episode is set by
her. She’s a brilliant writer, now getting her plays on at places like
the Hampstead. 

AE: Whom do you relate to more: Naomi or
Emily?

JT: I love Emily, but yes, I relate more
to Naomi. I think she’s that strange mix of vulnerable and brave that I
certainly felt like at her age. She’s also immensely selfish and casual
with people something I feel like now.

AE: My
favorite thing about Naomi and Emily’s story is that it never feels like
a "lesbian story." There’s never a Very Special Episode or After School
Special feel to anything about them, as individuals or as a couple. How
did you approach the characters?

JT: I think a lot of the
credit for that has to go to how the characters were conceived, how
Jamie and Bryan judged the series, and particularly to Atiha. But in my
head, what I think we all were trying to make is  it’s a love
story about a girl who doesn’t want to be in love. The lesbian stuff
isn’t the focus, that is.

AE:  OK, can we talk episode
specifics? A running theme in Naomi’s episode is that she keeps talking
about how she can’t get any peace. Do you think that’s an internal thing
or an external thing for her? Like, is she really upset that all these
people are in her house or is she upset that Emily is f–king with her
mind and she’s projecting it outward?

JT: That’s something
for audiences to judge, I think. Maybe because I don’t know. One good
thing about writing is a lot of it is about interpretation  and
sometimes the audiences (you) are cleverer than the writer (me).

AE:
Can you talk a little bit about the difference between Kieran and
Emily? On the outside, Kieran seems much more emotionally threatening
and Emily seems like the sweetest girl in the world. But Naomi reacts to
them in the exact opposite way.

JT: Again, I think it’s
something for the audience to judge. Though I actually like Kieran and
think certainly at that point  that he and Naomi had
quite a lot in common. Both he and Emily are kindred souls  for
her, I think  representing different aspects of her personality.

AE: Will you unpack that statement a
little? "Kindred souls, representing different aspects of her
personality?"

JT: He’s
vulnerable, confused, very eloquent and clever, but flat-packed into a
world that he finds sort of disappointing. He also doesn’t like himself
very much. And Naomi doesn’t like herself very much, either.

AE:
Do you think Cook is really into Naomi or is he just looking for a
quick shag?
JT:
Personally, I think Cook respects Naomi 
and it’s an unusual feeling for him.

AE: One of my all-time favorite Naomi and Emily moments is when Naomi
wakes up in the bed with Emily and reaches out to caress her hair. Was
that a writing decision or a directing decision?
JT:
I wrote it
on paper. But [Lily Loveless and Kathryn Prescott] and director Simon realized it beautifully.

AE: What do you think
is going through her mind in that moment?

JT: Hope?
Confusion?

AE: When you watched the episode and you saw Naomi
wake up with Emily’s name tattooed on her face, were you like, "Really
nice touch, Jack Thorne?"

JT: I did like that bit. It
looked even better than I had it in my head.

AE: One
of my favorite things about Naomi’s episode is how all the dialogue
between Naomi and Emily is layered, especially when they’re deciding to
do blowbacks.
JT:
Atiha wrote that. It’s awesome, isn’t it?


AE:
I’ve heard people say that Emily is just a doormat in series three, but
I think she’s the most courageous. And the first time we really get to
witness that is when she wakes up at the lake and Naomi is leaving — when
she marches up the hill and commands her to stop. Why do you think
Emily chose that moment to take a stand?

JT: Because
she’d been left in her bed twice. But just as courageous is the moment
in Naomi’s bedroom where she says "My first thought is not ‘I want to
f-ck that girl.’" Or something like that. But yeah, I like those lines 
they’re what I wish a certain girl had said to me at a certain point.
Writing as wish fulfillment.

AE: When Naomi goes home and has a
breakdown in the shower, what do you think she’s feeling?

JT: What you think she’s feeling is far more important. Really. 

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