Alison Brie on ‘Roar,’ the new darkly comedic feminist fable series

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Alison Brie in ‘Roar.’
Apple TV+

In Apple TV+’s latest anthology series, the phrase “I am woman, hear me roar” holds weight when looking at the subject matter, and the themes.

‘Roar’ comes from co-showrunners Carly Mensch and Liz Flahive’s—who also happen to be the team behind Netflix’s hit series ‘Glow’ — and it’s based on a book of short stories by Cecelia Ahern, all dealing with the female experience in the current world.

As an anthology, each episode features a new story, new cast, and a new perspective with a mix of magical realism, familiar domestic and professional scenarios, and future worlds. Throughout the series, we see actresses such as Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo, Issa Rae, Merritt Wever, Alison Brie and more take on different roles in their own half-hour story—which all happen to be hilariously funny, much thanks to the vision of Mensch and Flahive.

That’s also what drew in star and previous woman wrestler (in ‘Glow’ that is) Alison Brie.

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Alison Brie in ‘Roar.’Provided

“I just adore them,” explains Brie. “I had such an incredible time working with them on ‘Glow,’ and I really admire their commitment to telling stories about the female experience and telling them in a really unique and engaging way. So, when they called me and said we’re doing an anthology series based on a book of short stories that are darkly comedic feminist fables—I was like, you had me at hello.”

Brie’s episode centers around a murder investigation where we find out early on that she’s the victim. However, her character, Becky, is present for the episode as a ghost. And she has to watch as two detectives (Chris Lowell and Hugh Dancy) try to crack the case. Despite some very clear clues, the duo can’t seem to figure out where to go—and that’s partially due to some misogynistic outlooks, assumptions and a tad bit of mansplaining happening throughout it all.

“There’s so much packed into my episode. First of all, there are themes about women not feeling seen and heard. My character is a ghost, so people literally don’t see her or hear her. That was a really interesting part of the shooting experience… I’m shooting these scenes where I’m just trying to get my voice across and I’m literally talking over these men and nobody really acknowledges me,” says Brie. “Then there’s also a look at the genre of the detective show and the role of the dead girl within that show, and women’s roles within that genre. They’re usually just used as a jumping-off point to explore the male character’s point of view…So, we’re kind of flipping that on its head a bit.

It’s apparent that the detectives don’t exactly take the women in their field seriously, or at least one of them certainly doesn’t. Dancy’s character early on asks a female police officer who was first on the scene to go and get coffees instead of walking them through what she found, and from there the hits keep coming. And although they don’t exactly scream evil or women-hating, they do undermine the female outlook.

When at Becky’s apartment, they are more so focused on her looks, on her possessions, or lack thereof (“No food, she has ice cream and wine so she must be bulimic,” remarks Dancy’s character) than on what really is unfolding. Even Lowell’s softer character makes remarks of what she must do for work instead of trying to get to the source of who would do something so barbaric to someone.

But that’s also the point.

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Brie, Chris Lowell and Hugh Dancy in ‘Roar.’Apple TV+

“There are also themes about violence against women, Incel culture and the deep web of misogyny that exists online, plus the victim-blaming that goes on when it comes to assault against women,” continues Brie. “It’s such a rich episode. And this is what I love about the way that Liz and Carly work and about this series too: I talk about these themes and they sound really heavy, but actually the episode is really funny and comedic. They somehow find a way to explore those themes in a way that’s really relatable and entertaining. It’s nice and it makes it a palatable way to think about some heavier stuff.”

‘Roar’ packs in educated themes but with the backdrop of some hilarious characters, evolving storylines and an all-star cast. The takeaway is the true star however.

“I hope the stories resonate with people and that they leave the series kind of thinking about these issues in a different way,” finishes Brie. “And for women watching this series that they feel seen…that they can find themselves in these characters and just revel in not feeling alone.”

Roar‘ will premiere on Apple TV+ April 15. 

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