What does it mean to be isolated? At a time when many of us are asking ourselves this question, the new Amazon Original series SOLOS offers a new perspective.
“My hope is that people watch and feel a little less alone,” said the show’s creator, David Weil. “I want people watching to feel like, ‘oh, someone's heard me, someone understands me, and someone’s identifying or expressing the very things that I'm going through.’”
The seven-part series follows eight disparate characters played by a star-studded cast—including Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Uzo Aduba, Constance Wu, Dan Stevens, Nicole Beharie, and Anthony Mackie—as they come to reckon with the fact that even during our most isolated moments, we are all connected through the human experience. Each piece inspires reflection with a touch of expertly infused humor—a style Weil established in his first show with Amazon, HUNTERS, an Al Pacino Nazi-hunting series .
We had the opportunity to chat with Weil about the opportunities, hopes, and meaning of bringing this series to life with Amazon Studios. Read on for a behind-the-scenes peek at SOLOS,available exclusively on Prime Video on May 21 in the U.S. and select territories, and June 25 worldwide.
Q: Let’s talk about the cast. How did you approach assembling this dream team of artists?
My first conversation about the show was with Anne Hathaway. I pitched her an idea, and she was a wonderful and generous collaborator who said, “That sounds great, here are my thoughts. Let's keep developing this together.” She was such a source of inspiration, knowledge, and dramatic instinct. Anne’s response combined with Helen Mirren's enthusiasm for the piece really made me feel like we could put together a cast that was so undeniably incredible. This is my dream cast. I always think of these eight actors anytime I write a role. To have them be a part of this series is a dream come true. It's magical.
Q: This is your second show with Amazon Studios. What makes working with Amazon different from working with other studios?
The most beautiful part of working with Amazon is that they encourage imagination and push you to be bold; they’re always “yes and-ing.” We also worked with Amazon's incredible casting group led by Donna Rosenstein, head of worldwide casting for Amazon, and Ashley Banks [a Prime Video casting executive], and Molly Ronis [a Prime Video casting coordinator], who were not only instrumental in helping us reach out to agents and talent, but were so supportive of the talent themselves. They identified how we could make these incredible actors feel supported and safe, and that's very, very rare. Amazon is incredibly artist-friendly and artist-forward, and that was a real gift.
Q: What are some of the themes viewers should look for as they watch the series?
If you’ve seen HUNTERS, you know I love a good “Easter egg,” and there are certainly Easter eggs in this piece. One thing to note is that all of the worlds in SOLOS are connected. There is a subtle thread that binds each of the characters. For example, if you look at the poster , you might notice that each character, whether it’s their costume or their world, inhabits a different color. Each episode is a mosaic tile that fits into a larger tapestry of beautiful pictures.
Q: This show is so binge-worthy! How did you approach the challenge of keeping viewers engaged for six 30-minute monologues and a duologue?
I wanted it to feel like a dance at all times, like a theater performance. The goal is to make sure that an audience never feels fatigued, and that they're excited for what happens next. Part of our work to accomplish this was to make the spaces, costumes, and cinematography as dynamic as possible. There's so much story going on if you look closely. Take Sasha's home, for example. I wanted it to be populated with all these different corners and crevices to really make the space feel lived in. I wanted the episodes to be like an immersive theater experience where it's a museum on scene within the piece.
Q: Each episode includes moments of happiness, sadness, laughter, and every emotion in between. Why was it important to add comedic relief as the characters tackled heavy topics?
For all of us, in our experiences as human beings, there's a great deal of joy and a great deal of humor in our lives, and also a great deal of pain and sadness. I wanted each piece to really encapsulate the full human experience. I do believe, dramatically speaking, that the best way to realize an incredibly deep, dramatic moment is to counteract that with moments of lightness, levity, and humor, so that those moments of gravity can feel more potent and powerful.
Q: What is the message you hope viewers take away from the series?
My honest hope is that after watching each episode, viewers will reflect and ask themselves the question that the piece asks and give themselves a moment to reflect on their own lives. I hope every person takes away something different from this piece, and that they relate to these characters in ways that are personal to them.
SOLOS will premiere exclusively on Prime Video May 21 in the U.S. and select territories, and will be available worldwide June 25.