David E. Kelley wrote the two-season nighttime drama Big Little Lies. Now, the prolific writer, who also created The Practice, Picket Fences, and Ally McBeal, is executive producer and showrunner of the drama Big Sky, coming soon to ABC.
David E. Kelly Talks Big Sky
Big Sky tells the story of Cody Hoyt (One Life to Live grad, Ryan Phillippe), private detective Cassie Dwell (Kylie Bunbury), and Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick), a cop, who is also Cody’s ex, as they search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana. The plot thickens as they discover that other girls in the area have also disappeared. You can watch a preview below.
“I’m not going to talk too much about plot details, because a big part of the series are the twists and story turns that we take,” Kelley explained in a recent virtual press conference. “And the more that we can preserve those surprises, I think the better the experience will be for watching the show. I do think that what you will notice is we come out of the box as a thriller and as we proceed from episode to episode, we will cultivate a real investment in the characters.”
As evidenced by his work, Kelley seems to especially write women well. Does he know why? “I have no idea,” Kelley responds. “You know, I could bluff an answer, but the truth is I have no idea. I tend to focus on characters and let the characters speak to me. And that sounds a little otherworldly like I’m channeling them, but some of that goes on. You sit down. You start to draw characters. Then you cast the characters. The actors inhabit the characters, and then the film starts to inform who those characters are, and it ultimately is a real collaboration.”
The 11-time Emmy-winning Kelley, who has been married to film star Michelle Pfeiffer since 1993, doesn’t necessarily see it as writing women better than writing men. “I try to be true to [all my] characters, whoever they may be,” he says. “I’ve been lucky enough to work with some phenomenal actresses, and as a result, some of their talents have inured to my benefit, maybe my reputational benefit, but it goes back again to just focusing on characters and finding the best actors/actresses you can get to play them.” Big Sky premieres on ABC on Tuesday, November 17 at 10 p.m.