Director Roseanne Liang On Creamerie & A Possible Season 2 - Exclusive Interview

If you haven't watched Season 1 of "Creamerie" on Hulu yet, you need to immediately. The dark comedy was filmed in New Zealand and was co-created by director Roseanne Liang, who's also responsible for "Shadow in the Cloud," the WWII sci-fi movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz.

Set in the not-too-distant future, "Creamerie" explores a world in which all men have died due to a mysterious illness. Now, a society of women appears to thrive, but below the surface, life is less than perfect. A cult-like organization called Wellness dictates which women can become mothers — to continue to populate the world with more women, of course. Taking aim at the toxicity of the wellness industry, government interference with women's bodies and liberties, sexism, and racism, "Creamerie" is equal parts quirky comedy, insightful observation, and feminist dystopia.

The List caught up with the director – who created "Creamerie" with the show's three main stars, J.J. Fong, Ally Xue, and Perlina Lau — to find out all about "Creamerie," which recently hit Hulu, whether a second season is on the way, and what she's working on next.

Roseanne Liang takes us behind the scenes of Creamierie

"Creamerie" has a fantastic premise. How did you come up with the show?

I was sitting with co-creators J.J. Fong, Ally Xue, and Perlina Lau in 2018, at J.J.'s kitchen table, downloading about the latest season of "The Handmaid's Tale." We love the show, but it was really getting us down, especially mid-term in Trump's presidency with women's agency over their own bodies being threatened (and look where we are now. Ugh). Everything that happens in the U.S. ripples to us in Aotearoa New Zealand in one way or another, including the feeling of rage and hopelessness about society at large. At the same time, we were being inspired by shows like "Barry" and "Atlanta" — shows that were doing things with comedy and tone that we had never seen before — and we wondered what a NZ-ified gender-flipped satire of "The Handmaid's Tale" might look like.

The series explores so many topics — feminism, race, and gender, the toxicity of the wellness industry, the policing of women's bodies. It's also very funny. What do you hope people take away from the show?

You know that saying, "If you don't laugh, you'll cry"? I think we wanted to bring a kind of nihilistic solace into the world. We didn't want to say, "Everything's gonna be okay!" like liars, but we also didn't want to give in to that dreadful feeling of oblivion. The overwhelming desire to NOT sink into a pit of despair is even more urgent after 2+ years of a global pandemic, and unusual humor can be a great way to deal with it. I hope in watching "Creamerie," people will be entertained, feel uncomfortable, start discussions about power, and find new, not wholly unpleasant ways to cope with the mess we're in.

You directed every episode of the series. What was that like, and did you have a firm vision in mind?

It was daunting at first, but I ended up being appreciative that I stayed the whole journey with the cast and crew. I had co-written the series with Australian writer Kirsty Fisher, and NZ writers Dan Musgrove and Shoshana McCallum, so I knew that the tonal tightrope between silly comedy and deep, dark drama was going to be a very fine balance. It was like jumping out of a plane with the cast, a leap of faith to achieve a tone unlike any other. Some people have called it "weird." I take that as a compliment, like salted caramel. A flavor that you wouldn't think to put together — but once you taste it, you can't get enough of it!

What's the response been like so far?

The response so far has been wonderfully gratifying, in New Zealand especially. There's nothing quite like a hometown winner. We knew we had hit a chord when Perlina walked past a construction worker early one morning on her way to work, and instead of catcalling, he complimented her on being in "Creamerie." That's peak "we've made it" right there!

A second season of Creamerie could be on the way

Are you planning for a second season?

We definitely have a plan for a second season that is bigger, deeper, and even more "carpe futurum" than the first! We've received so many comments from fans of the show who have told us that they need a second season, stat. Now we just need the green light to make it happen. Every visible reaction to the show shows the powers that be that we are worth the investment, so we're thankful to anyone who digs the show for making some noise.

"Creamerie" is shot in and around Auckland, which is where you grew up. Are you committed to showcasing New Zealand in your work?

Aotearoa New Zealand is my home and always will be. I feel like if Peter Jackson and James Cameron can live here and make projects here, then maybe I can too? We have some pretty sweet locations and people here. I love NZ crews.

Is there anywhere you hope to film in the future?

For "Creamerie," we would love to expand the world. There miiiight be some cause to leave the shores of Aotearoa New Zealand in the future storylines of this world, and we would probably have to film somewhere like Bora Bora or Hawaii. For the story, of course.

On working with Chloë Grace Moretz and being inspired by her own family

You directed and co-wrote "Shadow in the Cloud" starring Chloë Grace Moretz. What was that experience like and how was it working with Chloë?

It was wild being able to shoot my first Hollywood film in New Zealand. There was a big swirl of contrasting emotions — holy s*** this movie is happening; I cannot f*** this up or else I won't get the chance again; wait — Chloë is coming to my hometown to spend weeks cooped up in a tiny glass and metal ball in a converted office space, and also fight a WWII-era monster on our beaches in the middle of winter?! She had to carry this film, and I bow down to her sheer grit in working with us to make it happen. It was punishing — physically, mentally, emotionally, technically. We had fun too, of course — but it was punishing fun!

Before you became a writer and director, you got into medical school. Does your background in sciences and pre-med influence your filmmaking at all?

My dad is a retired pediatrician, and both my sisters are medical specialists now. I can draw a direct line from their influence to where I am now. My sisters were the ones who urged me not to follow medicine just because it was the "default" in our family. It was my action short film "Do No Harm" (inspired in part by an experience my surgeon sister had) that got me representation in Hollywood. I got a "back-up" undergraduate degree in Computer Science while I was studying film, and that foundation has come in so handy on my more VFX-focused projects — "Shadow in the Cloud" and now "Avatar: The Last Airbender." I feel lucky to have enjoyed STEM in school and university, and it does inform a lot of my creative and logistical obsessions!

"Creamerie" Season 1 is available to stream on Hulu now.