After dazzling audiences’ with the raunchy Brit comedy “Chewing Gum” in 2015, British actress and writer Michaela Coel is back with an HBO series seeking to navigate the topical waters of sexual consent.
As the HBO synopsis states:
Arabella Essiuedu (Coel) — easily distracted, non-committal, and carefree — finds herself feted as the ‘voice of her generation,’ with an agent, a book commission and a helluva lot of pressure. After being sexually assaulted in a nightclub, her life changes irreversibly and Arabella is forced to reassess everything: her career, her friends, even her family. As Arabella struggles to come to terms with what has happened, she begins a journey of self-discovery.
The first trailer, released today, presents Arabella’s world as one filled with drinking and partying that’s irreparably changed after a night she can’t remember. The trailer doesn’t explicitly discuss sexual assault, instead going for a fractured, fragmented series of scenes that imply Arabella’s life is dysfunctional and there’s far more going on behind the scenes than we know about.
Coel has been on a roll since debuting “Chewing Gum.” At one point considered to be the new Doctor Who, Coel starred in the 2018 musical “Been So Long” and was in the Hugo Blick-directed international thriller “Black Earth Rising” last year.
HBO is generally no stranger to shows tackling tough topics. There’s no doubt “I May Destroy You” fits perfectly with their penchant to cast an eye on serious events, be it “Euphoria,” “Barry,” or any number of the network’s docuseries. The nature of sexual assault on film and television remains a dominant topic post-#MeToo, and there are so many angles that still remain unexplored.
As HBO stated in its press release, “I May Destroy You” will “explore the question of sexual consent in contemporary life and how, in our modern landscape of dating and relationships, we make the distinction between liberation and exploitation.”
Alongside Coel the series will also star Weruche Opia, Paapa Essiedu, Aml Ameen, Adam James, Sarah Niles, Ann Akin, Harriet Webb, Ellie James, Franc Ashman, Karan Gill, Natalie Walter, and Samson Ajewole.
“I May Destroy You” will air on HBO in June.