Spreadsheet: Stephen Curry on what it was like making the Paramount+ original

“It’s important to have these things where local content can get a run.”

Spreadsheet, the new Aussie comedy series about sex in the suburbs will kick off streaming exclusively on Paramount+ from Wednesday, 20 October.

The show revolves around divorcee Lauren, a mother-of-two who is looking for sex without commitment.

With the help of her best friend, Alex, Lauren creates the “Spreadsheet” – a database of male options, customised to ensure her sushi train of sex rolls around with variety and order amidst the chaos of her life.

The show is produced by Northern Pictures in association with ITV Studios and created by Kala Ellis, and starring UK actress Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd, Doc Martin), Spreadsheet features a stellar cast including Stephen Curry, Robbie Magasiva, Rowan Witt, Katrina Milosevic, Ryan Shelton, Zahra Newman, Tina Bursill and Richard Piper.

Mediaweek caught up with Stephen Curry to talk about his time on set and what it was like working on an original platform for Australia’s latest streaming platform.

“Someone said you should have a look at this thing because she is a new writer (Kala Ellis) and she has done an incredible job,” Curry told Mediaweek. “I had a look at it. They said, oh, by the way, when you read the name Lauren, that’s Katherine Parkinson, and I suddenly went, ‘Oh hang on’.

“Her timing is ridiculous, she is one of the best comedy performers I’ve ever seen. I went ‘I am in’ and then said ‘ah I should read it first’. Then I read it and said ‘I am still in’.”

Curry said that working with Parkinson was one of the highlights of the project, and was best summarised by saying that she is not a prick.

“Katherine is an absolute pearler, she is original, and she’s not a prick. All that would have to happen would be for the lead or anyone in the production to just play their own game or be a bit of a loser, things then go pear-shaped. But she is such a cracker, and she’s such a lovely person and made everyone feel so important in the piece.”

Curry said that filming kicked off before the second set of lockdown’s but mid-filming restrictions caused disruptions to any otherwise smooth production.

“We were basically shooting in July and August. Lockdown happened halfway through the shoot. Because we’re already shooting, we were able to get an exemption, which comes with a million Covid compliance rules and that sort of stuff. The process was an absolute ball-ache for the people who were trying to run it. They did an incredible job of adhering to all those rules. But it’s a whole new world when you’re trying to shoot with all those rules. There is a lot of intimacy in this piece as well, so it’s hard to do intimacy scenes from 1.5 metres apart.”

Curry said that with the arrival of international streaming platforms that the marketplace is a competitive one, but that he would like to see more local content.

“It’s important to have these things where local content can get a run. Netflix and Amazon and all those things have been talking about having a lot of local content on their platforms, but not really coming to the party with it. There have been different pieces but not enough. Platforms like this are great because it’s going to increase the number of productions and increase the number of employment for countless people right across the board in front of and behind the lens. Commercial television is going to have less and less interest in paying money for scripted content because they don’t make as much money as they can make out of The Block or whatever. In terms of the future of our actual industry, I think streamers are essential to that.

“I like the idea with the exclusive because then it makes it a destination for people to go to to see original productions. Without them, our industry would have less than half of the productions going on. In terms of our actual survival as an industry, these platforms are integral.”

With Paramount+ being the new kid on the block, Curry said that it was an enjoyable process working with the platform on one of its first original programs.

“They don’t put their fingers in too much, they let you do your job. They’re very prescriptive about what they want from the outset and then they leave you to it which is great. I’ve worked on a bunch of things where the network or the platform has too much input and that too many cooks spoil the broth kind of thing comes to the fore. Paramount+ has done a really good job of curating what they want on their platform and then letting the creatives do their thing.”

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