Staffing the writer's room with 'Let the Right One In' showrunner and EP Andrew Hinderaker
November 11, 2022
How far would you go to protect your child? Would you lie? Cheat? Steal? How about kill? These are the questions behind Amazon Prime’s latest horror drama, Let the Right One In. LTROI follows the story of Mark Kane (Demián Bichir) and his forever young daughter, Eleanor Kane (Madison Taylor Baez), who have spent the last ten years on the run. Eleanor was made a vampire at a young age, and due to her literal bloodthirst, the family must leave every town they try to settle in for her, and others', safety. But when Eleanor meets the shy boy next door, she’s not ready to move on so quickly. Based on the internationally acclaimed Swedish novel and feature film of the same name, Let the Right One In is one of the most painful coming-of-age stories in recent memory.
Spearheaded by showrunner, Andrew Hinderaker, LTROI merges the book and film into one seamless thread.
“I want to say the first time I saw the movie was in 2010 and then of course many times after that. I rewatched it around the time I had to pitch, and something about it spoke to me as a parable for addiction. I was interested in exploring the lines of addiction, especially the lives of parents who have children who are addicts.”
This marks Hinderaker’s first television gig as showrunner, but his writing credits run long. He cites his former boss and Penny Dreadful showrunner, John Logan, for setting the bar.
Hinderaker said, “John is a true master of every discipline, but was also so generous in our room. Penny Dreadful shot in Ireland, so while I was there I got to watch him run the show – that experience was invaluable.”
Coming from a theatre background, Hinderaker used his previous writing experience as a spark for the LTROI room, especially when building up the show's characters.
“A lot of the characters were born out of what felt true in the writer’s room,” said Hinderaker. "Naomi is a homicide detective who sees the world for how it treats the kindness and sensitivity her son offers. On the other end, Mark has a child who survives off of human blood. What we were interested in [while writing these characters] was the idea that the parents of the children love their kids ferociously but sometimes in spite of what they are, whereas, the kids love each other for what they are.”
To build the writer’s room, Hinderaker read and mix of specs and original samples.
“Anything I suppose,” he explains. “You want everyone to bring a unique perspective and point of view. I’m looking at how are they as an artist. What’s their voice and perspective? We have to create over thirty hours of television, so we’re looking for folks who can help us generate that, plus people who understand how stories can be built over a season.”
And Hinderaker feels strongly that he found that within the LTROI writer’s room.
“I wanted a group whose writings reflect the diversity of our show and the diversity of storytelling. I sought out playwrights like myself and some of that has to do with that this particular show has a lot of theatre artists in it. It was important to me to identify what the story wanted to be and not fit into the structure of conventional television.“
Always a dedicated advocate for writers, Hinderaker looks back at his career fondly.
“If I had to give my younger self advice, it would be to enjoy the process,” he says. “I remember when critics would come to see my plays and being in dirty rehearsal rooms, ultimately making something I was proud of. If you’re working on a script, it can be hard to enjoy it when you're several years into your career and just trying to break in, but I would still tell my younger self to enjoy the process.”
And to cap off his advice to himself, Hinderaker had this to offer for fellow scribes.
“The best advice I’ve evr gotten was rom a playwright mentor,” he says. “It all boils down to working on projects you believe in and people you like and admire.”
Let the Right One In is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Written by: Sade' SellersSade Sellers is a screenwriter and producer based in Burbank, California. Originally from Michigan’s capital, Lansing, Sade’ has been working in the entertainment industry since 2009. In 2017, Sade’ was a finalist for Tv One’s Screenwriting competition for her teleplay The Replacement. This achievement motivated the network to hire her as a writer for their upcoming movie of the week event, Deadly Dispatch, which premiered on the platform in the summer of 2019. Through that production process, Sade’ met casting director Leah Daniels-Butler who was in the midst of staffing her production company, 1oneninety5. Sade’ then rose to the role of Vice President of Content Acquisitions and Development and spent the next year learning the ecosystem of film and television development from pitching to production. Using that experience, and bound at home due to COVID-19, Sade’ made a return to her first love, screenwriting, utilizing her free time to write new content. www.sadesellers.com