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Hulu’s ‘National Treasure’ Boss On Tackling Sexual Abuse & Celebrity Privilege — TCA

Deadline logo Deadline 1/7/2017 Amanda N'Duka
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Hulu’s National Treasure follows comedian Paul Finchley (Robbie Coltrane),  a bona fide “national treasure” and one half of a popular, long-running comedy act. The famous public figure’s world is thrown into chaos when he is accused of past sexual abuse, and the 4-part series examines the subsequent fallout and impact of those closest to him.

Sounding very similar to the Bill Cosby scandal, as one reporter pointed out during the show’s TCA panel discussion today, writer/creator Jack Thorne insisted that Paul’s story wasn’t the same. Thorne said he pulled from “a series of actors, comedians, and public figures that have been arrested and some have been jailed… it was those sort of figures that we decided to put at the center of our story, where there was less evidence and where the situation had an ambiguity…”

Executive producer and director Marc Munden said that what drew him to the crime thriller “was the fact that it explores this gray area that exists in celebrity culture…concerning the abuse of power.”

Added Thorne: “There is a very different set of circumstances in the court when you recognize the person who the defendant is and so celebrity has to affect it.” He continued, “People with money and power are in an unfair position in the legal system.”

When queried about the the growing sensitivity to women’s abuse allegations stemming from the Cosby case, Thorne remarked that it was “long overdue” but there’s still a massive problem with sex crimes going under-reported and under-convicted. Because of this, he continued, “when doing this project we made sure we researched everything we possibly could in order to tell this story properly, because we were aware of the responsibly of telling those victims’ stories.”

National Treasure, which stars Coltrane, Julie Walters and Andrea Riseborough, will begin streaming stateside March 1 as a Hulu Original.

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