Gianna Sobol on “The Returned” and the explosion of queer characters coming to TV


AE: What are some of your favorite shows—either current or past—and do they influence your writing? Or, if not, what does influence your writing?

GS: One of my favorite recent shows was Top of the Lake, I thought it was really, really brilliant. And I really loved The Returned, the French one—that was really inspiring to me. I’m definitely inspired by television, but I find that I’m more inspired in some ways by real stories in the world. I listen to a lot of This American Life, and I loved Serial. I found Serial really, really inspiring. And the people I meet in my life, I travel a lot and I find whenever I travel it sort of opens my mind up to new ideas and new worlds. So it’s a combination of seeing shows and working for really cool writers, and sort of understanding what you can do with television, mixed with my own experiences that I can bring to the table.


AE: You mentioned that you were looking at upcoming pilots. I don’t know if you can say—I don’t really know how things work—but is there anything that you’ve started writing on?

GS: Nothing has been formally picked up yet—I’m just reading scripts. It’s mostly pilots that have been shot, but we don’t know if the shows are actually going to go yet. So there’s nothing specific I can really say other than that I was just sort of shocked at the number of queer characters. I mean there are even a handful of trans characters, and this is network television that I’m reading right now. So it’s really exciting. I feel like shows like Transparent have really changed the game.


AE: Yeah, that’s awesome. Okay, last but not least, I have some rapid fire questions for you. So just say the first thing that comes to your mind.

GS: Okay, got it.


AE: What’s your favorite color?

GS: Blue.


AE: Do you prefer Tegan and Sara or Ani DiFranco?

GS: My 15-year-old self would say Ani DiFranco, my current self would say Tegan and Sara.


AE: [laughs] That’s actually exactly what my answer would’ve been.

GS: Really? [laughs] It’s a hard one!


AE: Wine, beer, or liquor?

GS: All of the above.


AE: [laughs] Oh man, I just interviewed Agnes Bruckner and she said the same thing.

GS: [laughs] She’s awesome. I love her.


AE: Do you have a favorite author?

GS: Right now it’s Junot Díaz.

Giana with Deborah Ann Woll on the set of “True Blood”Image 3

AE: Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?

GS: The beach.


AE: Cats or dogs?

GS: Definitely dogs.


AE: What is your favorite current song?

GS: I’ve been on a John Prine kick. I’m going to say “In Spite of Ourselves” by John Prine.


AE: When you write, do you use a pen and paper (old school) or do you type on a computer

GS: Computer.


AE: If you were not a writer, what would you be?

GS: I’d like to believe I’d be a doctor. [laughs] I’m not sure if that’s actually true.

The Returned airs on A&E Monday nights at 10/9c. Follow Gianna on Twitter: @giannasobol

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