Michaela Coel on Jane Fonda’s love of ‘I May Destroy You’: “I can see that she really gets it”

The screen legend is a big fan

Michaela Coel has spoken about Jane Fonda’s love of her drama series I May Destroy You.

In a new interview, the creator, co-director and actress of the HBOBBC series said she was aware of Fonda admiring her show and imagined what kind of conversation they might have about it together, as Coel has been doing with fans who’ve approached her.

“I imagine if I bumped into her outside of the supermarket, we’d be nerding out on all of the hidden meanings and layers because I can see that she really gets it,” Coel told Variety. “She watches it the way that I dreamed the audience would watch it.”


Earlier this month Fonda gave a shout-out to I May Destroy You in her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille award, saying it altered the way she thinks about sexual assault.

Elsewhere in the interview Coel spoke about her fears that the timing of I May Destroy You‘s release, which aired 2020, might not have been well received owing to its heavy subject matter about sexual assault in the wake of #MeToo.

But she was relieved: “The way people received the show, as we would say in London, gave me vim.”

“I think that this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of using fiction to really bring audiences to quite personal, challenging and dark places and asking audiences to question the world around them.”

She also said that she watched the series as it was broadcast each week, taking in the evolution of her “baby” from event to page to screen, after some advice from her executive producer Roberto Troni.


“He told me, ’This live debut, where hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people are sitting down to watch the show, you won’t get that again,” she said. “[Watching the episodes] was a very emotional process, and another form of catharsis in itself. It was exhilarating and joyous and exciting, and also difficult, because, as you watch and people begin to receive it, it is ending at the same time.”

Michaela Coel

She continued: “Generally when projects come out, my habit is to run away to a country where it isn’t airing, because I think I struggle with that bit of things, so I tend to go somewhere to hide a little bit,” she laughs. “The nice thing about lockdown was that we were all forced to hide, so it meant that I never felt the scale [of the response], which I think may possibly have given me anxiety.”

The series, which was shown on the BBC in the UK and HBO in the US, has won gongs at the NAACP Image Awards and GLAAD Media Awards and has been nominated for several BAFTAs.

Earlier this year, HBO confirmed that the show would not be returning for a second series.

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