Romantic movies have made somewhat of a comeback in recent years, with Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Always Be My Maybe both amassing huge audiences. Amazon is boarding the rom-com train with its newest addition to the genre, an anthology series entitled Modern Love. The show features major stars like Anne Hathaway and is based on true stories from The New York Times essay collection and podcast of the same name. The New York Times describes the column, whose stories are all based on the love lives and relationships of its contributors, as “weekly essays that explore the joys and tribulations of love.”
Hathaway addressed the upcoming project at the Television Critics Association press tour. “We know the ins and outs of romantic films so well. We’re almost ahead of them,” she said. “At the moment, as audience members, I’m not sure the three-act structure is as satisfying as it was 20 years ago. So for me, it was really exciting — this was a way to tell a genre of story that I love telling in a way that felt really fresh.”
Cristin Milioti, the star of another episode, also spoke about the project on Saturday. She said that an “intimate” mode of storytelling such as television suits the narratives of “Modern Love.” “It’s in your bedroom or your living room,” the actress said. “When you watch something at home, you feel like these people are with you. … I was watching these people fall in love and go through these things in their lives, and they were in my house. These kinds of stories [in “Modern Love”] lend themselves to that.”
The editor of “Modern Love” at the Times, Daniel Jones, serves as a consulting producer on the television adaptation. He mentioned that there are roughly 750 columns in the “Modern Love” archive. The show, which tells only eight of these stories, forced Jones, the showrunner John Carney, and Amazon executives to narrow down this vast collection into a few key favorites that would be right for the anthology, which is composed of eight half-hour long episodes. Jones explained that they had to determine which columns “had enough in them to really move a narrative forward” for each episode.
He continued on, explaining that the writers of the “Modern Love” essays that were ultimately selected to be adapted for the anthology were compensated for their stories. They were also involved to varying degrees in each of the eight episodes. For instance, Terri Cheney, who wrote the episode that stars Anne Hathaway, spoke extensively with the actress before bringing her work to life on screen. On the other side of the spectrum, Milioti decided that she did not want to contact the writer of her episode’s “Modern Love” story.
Milioti and Hathaway are joined by fellow actors Sofia Boutella, Gary Carr, Olivia Cooke, Brandon Victor Dixon, Tina Fey, John Gallagher Jr., Andy Garcia, Julia Garner, Catherine Keener, Dev Patel, Andrew Scott, John Slattery, and Shea Whigham. Sharon Horgan and Tom Hall wrote and directed several episodes, and Emmy Rossum directed one episode whose story had been written by the late Audrey Wells.
Carney executive produces Modern Love alongside Todd Hoffman, Choire Sicha, and Sam Dolnickfrom The New York Times. The anthology series is the product of a collaboration between Amazon Studios and Storied Media.
Modern Love will premiere on October 18. Watch the teaser trailer below.