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Netflix orders “Maid” adaptation from Margot Robbie and John Wells

Netflix continues to order new shows. This time it’s a Margot Robbie-John Wells production that will adapt Stephanie Land’s memoir Maid. Or, to give its full title, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive.

Two things to know about Maid, news of which was reported by Deadline:

  • This memoir is a New York Times best-seller.
  • The showrunner is Molly Smith Metzler.
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Who’s Molly Smith Metzler, you ask? Well, she wrote and produced Shameless (8.6 IMDB), along with 13 episodes of Orange Is the New Black. These are impressive shows with huge followings and countless awards. Metzler must be a key reason Netflix has ordered a season of Maid. The other key reason would be that Netflix has faith in the source material.

Before reading further on this story, here are some links regarding Netflix’s other recently slated projects:

“A book-long pity party”

Digging into the book and what people say about it has been eye-opening. Not because it’s a groundbreaking book but because opinions differ wildly.

Wells, who’s under a deal with Warner Bros. Television and serves as an executive producer of the show, said of the book:

“Stephanie tells the searing and remarkably human story of a young woman battling to find a secure future for herself and her infant daughter, Mia, in the face of overwhelming odds and governmental assistance programs of impossible complexity.”

Deadline

It sounds like a compelling story. Something similar to Will Smith’s Pursuit of Happiness. If so, it could be a fantastic read. However, according to Amazon reviewers, who give it an overall 3.8, it’s “a book-long pity party.”

“This is basically a book of a woman complaining “woe is me,”, throwing herself a pity party. She blames everyone else for her problems and doesn’t accept any responsibility for her terrible decisions.”

Stacy Cacciatore, Amazon reviewer
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Many adaptations end up nothing like the source material and we definitely don’t want a pity party. This is why Metzler is so important. Check out how she describes the adaptation:

Maid will chronicle a single mother who turns to housekeeping to — barely — make ends meet as she battles against poverty, homelessness, and bureaucracy. Told primarily through her point of view, Maid will be a beautiful, alive, gritty and inspiring exploration of poverty in America.”

Deadline

Reading that the show will be from the lead’s “point of view” makes it sound like a US version of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag (92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). One can only hope that it’s as bold and brash, but still focused on the book’s topics of poverty and parenthood rather than relationships.

In Molly we trust.

Wells, Robbie and Netflix’s flex

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Both Wells and Robbie are vastly experienced. The former is famous for ER, Southland, Shameless, and Animal Kingdom. His reunion with Metzler should be a fruitful one.

Robbie is an A-list actress, best known for her roles in The Wolf of Wall Street and Suicide Squad. She’s recently branched out into producing, though, starting with the 2018 film Terminal, which she starred in. Her Harley Quinn-centered Birds of Prey also gets her a big producer credit.

No word yet on whether or not Robbie will star in Maid, but orders should be given by the chief creatives for her to lead the new Netflix show.

As for the “Netflix flex” bit, well: Wells has a deal with Warner Bros., and Robbie has been a studio favorite there between her roles in DC comic book franchise projects, the Tarzan reboot and Focus.

WarnerMedia’s HBO Max would probably have carried Maid if Netflix hadn’t swooped in for the buy. It’s still a Warner Bros. TV co-production, so it may have been that HBO Max had enough on its plate preparing for its May 2020 launch. Warner couldn’t get this project off the ground on its own when the creative talent wanted to proceed further, it seems.

While some of that’s speculative, one thing is certain about Netflix’s order of the Maid: they’ve backed it with some amazing talent. It really could be great, like a US Fleabag.

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