Note: This Q&A includes plot details from the first season of “Good Girls Revolt.”
Erin Darke makes a lasting impression on “Good Girls Revolt,” the late ’60s-era drama that premiered on Amazon in October.
Darke plays Cindy Reston, a researcher at the fictional magazine News of the Week, where women are relegated to assisting their male colleagues and never receive bylines. The show is based on Lynn Povich’s book of the same name, which recalled the lawsuit Povich and other women launched against Newsweek in 1970. In the pilot, Cindy wistfully declares that her husband has given her one year to work before they start their family.
Over the course of 10 episodes, she and her peers attend “consciousness-raising” meetings and become more aware of the repeated slights and sexual harassment they encounter every day. Meanwhile, Cindy discovers a hole in her diaphragm (courtesy of her husband), begins an affair with a male colleague who turns out to be a cad, faces physical violence from her husband and uses alcohol to cope with the turmoil.
Amazon announced last week that it would not be moving forward with a second season — a rather shocking move considering the generally favorable buzz around the show. And since Amazon, like Netflix, doesn’t make viewership numbers public, it’s unclear whether ratings even factored into the decision. (Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
According to the Hollywood Reporter, several other networks are vying to pick up the drama for a second season. Darke spoke to The Washington Post before Amazon’s announcement, but has since joined her co-stars in tweeting with the hashtag #SaveGoodGirlsRevolt,” and she sent a follow-up statement via email on Amazon’s decision.
The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What’s your response to Amazon’s decision not to move forward with Season 2?
I am shocked and saddened by Amazon’s decision not to renew “Good Girls Revolt.” I have been deeply affected by living in Cindy’s skin, telling this story and I am honored to have represented the journey of the real women of Newsweek in 1970. It seems like now, more than ever, we need stories like this. Stories about women finding their strength and community. Stories about standing up for equality. I hope that another network recognizes the desire for these voices and gives the show a new home. Regardless of what happens, it has been my privilege to be a part of this show.
At a recent NPR panel, you recalled having gone in for a particularly demeaning audition [for another project]. Do you think being in this feminist-minded series has made you more attuned to sexism in the acting industry?
I think I am more attuned. I am [also] just finding myself less able to put up with it. I think there are very few women [in acting] that are not aware of it and that don’t have those auditions where you go in and sort of just feel like crap about having even gone in — when you feel like you are having to swallow your pride to audition for something.
You also said that you were planning a “consciousness-raising” meeting of your own. Did the show inspire that?
I was very inspired by the show. It was the day after the election. I was feeling really awful. I had gone to one of the protests and been talking to a few friends of mine. I got home and was like, “What can I do to promote community and a sense of community action?” And so I just sent out an email to like 25 women I know in the city.
I think it’s one of the parts of the show that I found myself the most inspired by. We would film those scenes and there was part of me that would be like, “Why don’t we do this anymore? This is a beautiful thing.”
Were you surprised by how heavy Cindy’s story got?
I would say that Jane [Anna Camp] is probably the character that has the farthest to go mentally in her journey, but Cindy was was already in the life that she was realizing that she didn’t want. And so to break out of that — even just the logistics of it, the mental journey that you have to go on for that, I think I always knew that it was not going to be an easy one.
She’s also an alcoholic. She’s dealing with these giant life decisions and isn’t even always dealing with them in a clear mind, so I wasn’t surprised necessarily by the direction that her arc went and how rough it got at periods.
As an actor, I was really excited about it. As a human being, it was hard to watch and play sometimes.
In the last episode, Cindy finally leaves her husband after he slaps her. That must have been a difficult scene to film.
That one was rough to film, but I’ll be honest — at that point, I was so happy to know that this was the scene where she was finally going to leave him. I was actually so excited about filming that scene. Even though it’s such a horrible moment that leads to that, I so fell in love with Cindy and spent the whole season just being like, “Why doesn’t she leave him?”
The scenes that were actually the hardest for me were the scene at Patty’s birthday party, where [Cindy] gets drunk and announces that Lenny [her husband] put a hole in her diaphragm. Nobody really stands by her in that moment. And then the scene at the end of that episode where she goes back to him. That broke my heart to do. And I had to go to the writers and be like, “Please promise me that she’s going to leave later.”
You said you fell in love with Cindy — do you feel a stronger attachment to this character than you have to others?
I absolutely do. This is the first time that I’ve done a TV series. So it’s the first time I’ve spent 10 hours worth of material, four months in one person’s skin. And that definitely contributed, but I also just think there’s something about Cindy — this beautiful, lost girl trying to find her strength, that I just have such empathy for. And she’s also kind of little bit of an oddball. I just love her.
If the show is picked up for a second season, where would you like to see Cindy’s story go?
I hope that she deals with her alcohol problem. I also am very interested in seeing — at the end of the first season we saw her make the decision to leave Lenny, but the actual logistics of that in 1970 for a woman were not an easy thing — how a woman actually extricates herself from that and figures out how to live on her own.
The thing about Cindy is she’s never even had her own apartment. She went straight from her parents to college to marrying Lenny. I’m really interested to see her learn how to take responsibility for herself completely.