Notes from the Underbelly on ABC

People ask me all the time what it was like to have a television show based on my book, Notes From the Underbelly.  In a word, it was super cool.  (Well, I guess that’s two words, but you know what I mean).  It was so much fun to see my characters brought to life by such talented actors!  Jennifer Westfeldt played Lauren, who was based on Lara, who was based on me, and she is so beautiful and just could not have been nicer.  Plus, her boyfriend is J on Hamm of Mad Men fame (although when we were making Notes, Mad Men wasn’t even on television yet!) so having him hanging around the set from time to time was an added bonus.

I was pretty involved with the making of the pilot – I went to casting sessions, I met with the producers, I sat in on table reads, I went to the set everyday, and I even got to go to New York for the Up Fronts, which is a three day event during which the networks announce their new fall shows and have a bunch of parties.  All of the stars come to promote their shows, so I got to meet the casts of Desperate Housewives and Gray’s Anatomy and Lost.  While we were filming the pilot, I also got to hang out a lot with the director, Barry Sonnenfeld (who directed Men In Black and Get Shorty), who was very sweet and also hilarious.  Some days, Barry would come to the set wearing a fake moustache and would just work with it on all day.  Weird, but lots of fun.

The question I get asked the most is whether I liked the show, since you always hear about books getting turned into movies or tv shows and getting completely ruined.  But I did like the show!  I think that it ultimately evolved away from my book, and the characters took on lives of their own, and it was it’s own thing that didn’t rely much on my book for story lines.  However, that doesn’t mean that the show wasn’t good. It was just different from what I wrote. But I enjoyed watching it every week, and I thought that everyone did a great job. It really was a once in a lifetime experience and I feel so lucky to have had it!