“Filthy Rich” creator and showrunner Tate Taylor grew up in the Presbyterian church, but his new Fox drama is not designed to convince the audience that one family’s religious beliefs are better than any others.
“The show is not pro-Christianity, it’s not about religion, it’s about people who are all very different who would otherwise never speak to each other and what does that look like?” Taylor said at the Fox Television Critics Assn. press tour panel for the show Tuesday. “It was very important that we don’t make fun of anybody, but we poke fun a little bit at everybody. Everyone’s faith is real.”
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“Filthy Rich” is a 10-episode one-hour drama about a wealthy Southern family that is a staple in the Christian television community. The death of the patriarch and televison network founder (played by Gerald McRaney) in the premiere episode brings surprising new family members into the spotlight, and it also pivots attention to another leader in the religous community, Reverend Paul Luke Thomas (Aaron Lazar).
“The idea came to me to have this strong Christian family be faced with the most impossible of situations that rocks their faith to the core,” Taylor said, noting he wanted to structure “extreme conflict” around the human mistakes that people make when they are under pressure.
He went on to add that the world is “so polarized” right now, and he has seen “how most of the religions of the world have been hijacked by people who turn against the religion.” He thinks “there’s someone on this show that everyone in America can find themselves [in]; I think everybody is represented,” but he also hopes the show will be a “fun, humorous reality check on who we are.”
Although the show is an ensemble, actor and producer Kim Cattrall is very much at the center as the matriarch of the family who steps in to be the new face of the company after the untimely passing of her husband. In casting Cattrall, Taylor said he loves “reversal of expectation. I love to take you on a path that you think you’re on and it’s not. Who would be the least likely person out there to play a Southern matriarch billionaire Christian?”
English-Canadian Cattrall was not raised in the South, and she shared she also doesn’t come from a religious background, so for her, the draw of the show was the “magical ‘if’ — if I was filthy rich, if I had a family, if I had children,” she said.
“It was one of those projects where I hadn’t seen this character before, and there’s something addictive about doing a character or a show you haven’t seen before; you’re like a pioneer of sorts,” she continued.
Cattrall admitted that the behind-the-scenes parts of her new gig came with a bit of a “learning curve,” even though she has served as an executive producer before (2005’s documentary “Kim Cattrall: Sexual Intelligence,” and the 2014-2016 series “Sensitive Skin,” in which she also starred). Still, she said she is as grateful to be a part of the producing team as she is to be in the company of her fellow actors on “Filthy Rich” because “it brings a voice to the show.”
Cattrall is certainly no stranger to ensemble series, but when asked, she couldn’t really draw comparisons between the processes of “Sex and the City” and “Filthy Rich” because she said she had forgotten much about the early days of the former show.
“I forgot what it was like when people had a judgement about that particular show, and then it evolved and kept evolving,” she said. “We’re all still learning at this, and we’re enjoying not knowing because there’s so many more possibilities. So, to me, every time period so far has been very fruitful.”
Taylor added that launching a show at a time when Fox itself is an evolving entity has been “an adventure.” But, he noted, any time you are strying to do something new it can be bumpy, and “if it’s not bumpy, you’re not doing anything original.”
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