Based on Susan Scarf Merrell’s novel, Shirley centers on how author Shirley Jackson (Elisabeth Moss) find inspiration from a Rose (Odessa Young), a newlywed who ends up being the de facto homemaker for Jackson and her professor husband Stanley (Michael Stuhlbarg). Logan Lerman co-stars as Rose’s husband Fred, an ambitious man who works under Stanley.
Screenwriter and producer Sarah Gubbins was a perfect piece to Shirley’s puzzle (she has read Jackson’s Hangsaman numerous times), and even though the film is not a documentary, having a working knowledge of Jackson adds to Shirley’s authenticity.
“She finds terror in the mundane,” said Gubbins, who also produced the series I Love Dick. “I think that’s something we all can relate to. Not just in our post 9/11 moment, but in our current state. There is an unseen terror in our world that provokes a lot of anxiety and she taps into that. Some of it is psychological and some of it is societal.”
Click on the media bar to hear Gubbins talk about how, when crafting the world of Shirley, the devil is in the details: