Last week Kenn and I attended the premiere of MARS 2, a National Geographic series I worked on last year. It was an amazing event— MARS under the STARS. We sat outside screening my episode (!) on the rooftop of a hotel, cuddled up in bean bag chairs and MARS blankets. (Should have gotten a photo, but I didn’t…) But— I met Ron Howard, which I was thrilled about. (Opie has grown into such a fine man… thank you, Aunt Bee!) MARS is partly his brainchild, produced by his company IMAGINE.
I wrote on the second season with the dream team of Dee Johnson, David Gould, and Paul Keables. Gould calls us the Spiders from Mars. We had a ball together.
This series is really rather special as it artfully mixes fiction with documentary about colonizing the Red Planet. We wrote a strong dramatic story which was then intercut with interviews with scientists and futurists like Elon Musk about what it will be like to live on Mars. Fascinating stuff.
You can catch Mars 2 on the National Geographic Channel every Monday at 9pm. Please watch and let me know what you think. Here’s the trailer:
Hey there, I’m thrilled to say the third season of our show “The Man In The High Castle” is streaming now on Amazon Prime. (I hear it’s doing pretty well!)
(on set, picture credit: director Nelson McCormick)
I’m in Vancouver working on Season Four and I am vastly impressed with the talent and dedication of everyone involved… cast, crew, designers, office staff… you name it, they’ve got it covered. Really blowing me away with their attention to detail and commitment to getting everything just right (great for an obsessive like me…) Plus we’re in Canada, so everyone is just so sweet. I’m loving it.
This series is timely now in ways not expected when it was conceived. It’s a fascinating exploration of what our American lives might look like under fascism. I love watching it to imagine what I would do under different circumstances. I think I’d be heroic… but then again… I wonder. These are the kinds of questions and stories we’re working on.
(director Nelson McCormick and I)
I’ve written Episode Two, which we’re shooting now, with Nelson McCormick directing; and I’ll be directing Episode Six, written by Lolis Elie.
Season Four will drop sometime next year. Meanwhile, check out Season Three!
I’ve joined Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle as Co-Executive Producer for their fourth season. The series is loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name, imagining an alternate history where the Axis powers won World War II.
It’s been crazy to immerse myself in that world. The first week I had a dream about Josef Mengele! I thought what have I gotten myself into now… but as it turns out I’ve gotten myself involved with an incredible group of people and the experience in the Writers Room has been tremendously satisfying.
I’m also happy to report that a series I’ve been developing with Keith Griffin Gordon for Noah Hawley’s company, 26 Keys, has been picked up by FX. Onward!
Do you love the Coen Brothers’ first film, BLOOD SIMPLE, like I do? I’ve seen this movie so many times— I’m crazy about it. When film critic April Wolfe invited me to do a Switchblade Sisters podcast, talking about a genre film that’s influenced my own work as a director— there was only one choice. I loved digging into what makes the movie great, why it stays with you, and how it affected me as I was figuring out film directing. (I admit to stealing a shot from Blood Simple on my first TV directing job.) April did her homework and I learned some fascinating things about the making of the movie that I didn’t know.
We also got onto the subject of working with amazing actors like Francis McDormand and Felicity Huffman. (I’m not embarrassed to say I gushed a little… but when you’re dealing with talent like that, damn.)
Take a listen on the Switchblade Sisters Apple Podcasts feed or the Maximum Fun website (HERE) and let me know what you think.
Laura Tremaine, host of the podcast The Smartest Person in the Room, interviews Julie Hébert about her career in theatre, film and television. Julie takes us on an inspiring journey from small town Louisiana to her current position as Executive Producer/Writer/ Director on the award-winning ABC series American Crime.
We get a glimpse of the dynamics in the Writer’s Room of a television drama and the responsibilities writers feel to their audiences. Julie discusses being a woman in a male-dominated industry and why it’s important for directors to wear boots. We also get a sneak-peek into current and future projects.
Laura leads a fascinating conversation giving an inside view into the workings of Hollywood and the life of a free-lance writer/director.
Hi friends! I’m delighted to be moderating a discussion Friday night November 11th with Dana Calvo, Jeanine Oppewall and Cynthia Pusheck, creators of the new Amazon show Good Girls Revolt. We’ll talk after a screening of their pilot at the beautiful Wilshire-Ebell Theater. I’d love to see you there. Come and get some inspiration from this true story of women banding together to create change.
Hey ya’ll, I just finished directing the second episode of this season’s American Crime, written by the almighty John Ridley and involving a conflagration pulled off with the help of my old buddy Tom Bellissimo. The episode will air in January. So loved working with our returning ensemble… Felicity Huffman, Regina King, Richard Cabral, Benito Martinez, Connor Jessup… and with our stellar new cast… Cherry Jones, Sandra Oh, Dallas Roberts and Tim DeKay. A real honor.
Okay, second visit to the Emmys– way more relaxed. We knew our way around this time, starting with driving up Pico instead of Olympic to get there, which saved us at least 20 minutes of waiting in a line of cars. Good start. We also knew to eat a little before we left, AND I brought almonds in my purse in case we became desperate. Turns out this was unnecessary because not only did they have mini-burgers in the lounge when we arrived (Kenn had one and said they were good) in the middle of the broadcast Jimmy Kimmel sent around lunch sacks from his mom filled with peanut butter and jam sandwiches, a cookie, an apple and a juice box. By that time everyone really was hungry and we — along with 7000 of our over-dressed colleagues — scarfed it up. It was a kick to see elegant men in their tuxedos and women dripping in diamonds licking their fingers and enjoying the pbj’s. One of my favorite moments. Thanks Jimmy’s mom.
Walking the red carpet was more chill this time, too, despite the 100 degree heat because they’d erected a cover and hedges and had water available and all the folks guiding us along were cheery and helpful. They did a great job of moving thousands of socializing people into place for an on-time start to a live broadcast. Not easy and they did it with grace. I don’t know if it was aired on the Emmy broadcast, but before the show started three kids from Stranger Things sang and danced Uptown Funk and I LOVED it. They were adorable and fun and super-talented. Glad I was in my seat ahead of time to see it.
I’m pretty bad at recognizing famous people and I kept saying to Kenn: Look, that’s so-and-so! and he’d say: No, it isn’t. And he was right. I mis-identified several seat-fillers but thank god I didn’t request their autographs. Meanwhile, I was so delighted to see some of my favorite people up on the big screen for their nominations, including Lili Taylor, Felicity Huffman, Lesli Linka Glatter, Lily Tomlin and many more. When Lily Tomlin didn’t win, you could see her mouth the words “Oh, damn it!” I love her. Also absolutely loved that Susanne Bier won best director for a limited series. She is a phenomenal director and it makes me so happy for women of talent to be recognized. Then, of course, our own Regina King won best supporting actress in a limited series for American Crime, and we leapt from our seats with tears in our eyes. Okay, Michael McDonald and I did, not Kenn, but he was proud of her, too. Turns out Regina’s win was the ONLY win of the night for anyone from broadcast television. Gave us a little lift.
Afterwards, we tromped over to the Governor’s Ball (my feet in stiletto heels were beginning to scream at this point… ah, vanity…) but when we walked in– the decor was breathtaking. Kenn says it’s like the most over-the-top high school prom you can imagine. Last year it felt like we’d been catapulted out into the universe and this year it was more Hobbit-like with lush, draped greenery
hanging from the fifty-foot ceiling. An elevated, wedding-cake-like platform in the middle held an orchestra and singers who keep shifting through the evening. Magical.
We found our table then wandered around talking to friends and colleagues. Very happy to see some of our brilliant Season Two cast including Joey Pollari, Elvis Nolasco and Connor Jessup, as well as Ms. Cherry Jones, who will be joining us for Season Three. Damn, it’s fun to know amazingly talented people who are all such sweethearts.
Dinner was yummy and at our table we ate, drank and chatted with writer-producers Diana Son and Keith Huff and his wife Georgette, as well as our AD Kayse Goodell. Really lovely.
And we were out– except for the long walk back to the valet. I admit removing the stilettos and enjoying the red carpet in bare feet! Goodbye 2016 Emmys.
Regina King accepting her Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress
Julie was honored to continue her work with John Ridley and Michael McDonald for the second season of critically acclaimed American Crime on ABC. The Writers Room on this series is one of the most diverse, if not the most diverse, on television, leading to the powerful, original storytelling the show is known for. Collaborating with these writers was an unforgettable experience. Ridley and McDonald extend this dedication to diversity both in front of camera and behind it, creating an artistic community reflective of our society. Julie directed Episode Four and wrote Episode Nine. Shooting with the mondo-talented cast and crew in Austin was the highlight of 2015.
Check out the promo videos below for American Crime Season 2!
American Crime Season 2 promo video:
American Crime Season 2 Episode 4 promo directed by Julie:
American Crime Season 2 Episode 9 written by Julie:
Once again a total joy to hang out in Austin for a few weeks, directing Episode 204 of American Crime. I could not have had a better time working with our world-class actors and crew who are tremendously talented and deeply collaborative. Really something. I feel such gratitude to all. Here I am chained to a post for safety while shooting inside a moving bus. (Christena Alcorn our intrepid Script Supervisor is my wing-woman.) Now on to write Episode 209! Back in Austin in November. Yes!