Amazon’s Jennifer Salke Talks Losing ‘Mare of Easttown,’ Accelerating Movie Strategy and Scouting New Talent

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Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, has revealed that the streamer lost a bid for “Mare of Easttown,” Brad Ingelsby’s hit show with Kate Winslet that eventually landed at HBO.

“We tried hard to get ‘Mare of Easttown’ and we lost it in the negotiation,” Salke said in a conversation with TV host and actor James Corden on Wednesday at the Edinburgh TV Festival. “I do think about the process. I did look back on what our process was going through that because I really, really loved the show. And I’m such a fan of Kate’s and I would be proud to have it on the service.”

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In a wide-ranging conversation with Corden, who has a role in upcoming Amazon original movie “Cinderella,” Salke also said that Amazon’s movie output is set to accelerate alongside international growth. “What you’re going to see is an acceleration of our movie output all over the world, not only these big global original-type movies, but movies like ‘Sylvie’s Love,’ ‘One Night in Miami, ‘Sound of Metal,’ the kinds of films that are really specific, they’re very artist driven, and really impactful for us,” Salke said.

“You’re going to see us lean into more of a bigger movie strategy around various types of content, and that will be global,” Salke added. “Also just stay tuned for the international growth, which is coming, the teams are building, the relationships are growing, the content is flourishing, and more interesting and exciting original content [is coming] every day. So [I’m] hoping to really expand our global home for talent and the success we’ve had building that thus far into a bigger international growth strategy.”

Salke also spoke about sharing a vision with the talent that Amazon is working with, including Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Steve McQueen and Donald Glover, who have similar goals of discovering new voices and talent. “They want to find those specific stories that they can help amplify,” Salke said.

When Corden asked Salke about the one piece of advice she would give to creators who hail from the so-called linear, traditional network television model who are now pivoting towards a streaming landscape, the executive stressed the importance of original ideas and staying away from anything that felt “safe.”

“If you believe in something that you are doing that feels like a ‘zig’ while everyone’s ‘zagging,’ that’s where I lean in,” Salke said. “I also don’t mind having a bit of a stomach ache about a show. If you’re not sure it’s probably because it hasn’t been done before. And you should probably be thinking good and hard about whether or not that’s a risk you want to take because we should all be taking creative risk. That’s what people want. That’s what’s moving to people, it’s what’s surprising. It’s what’s entertaining, these big unexpected moments, things like that.”

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