"Malcolm said it best in one of his interviews. He said, 'This is weapons grade material we're dealing with.' Everybody understands there is a high degree of difficulty in getting this right," Bloys told journalists, as reported by Slash Film.
"What excites them and us is if you can get it right, there is a real opportunity to advance the racial discussion. If you can draw a line between what we see in the country today with voter suppression, public education, health care and our past, that's an important line to draw," he continued.
"It's a conversation worth having. It is very difficult. They acknowledge there's a high degree of difficulty. We support them. It's a risk worth taking," Bloys added.
The network describes the series as follows:
"Confederate chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone — freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall."
Casey Bloys' Statements (cont.)
When asked about the portrayal of modern day slavery in the show, Bloys responded, "The producers have said they're not looking to do Gone with the Wind 2017. It's not whips and plantations. It's what they imagine a modern day institution of slavery might look like. They haven't written anything so I don't have details beyond that."
Bloys also said that they knew the show would be a big risk going in.
"The bet for us is on our talent. We have a long history at HBO of betting on our talent. We hope people judge the actual material as opposed to what it could be, should be or might be. We will rise and fall based on the quality of that material. These four writers are at the top of their game and can do anything they want. This is what they're passionate about so I'm going to bet on that," he said.
However, with as confident as they are in the idea, Bloys did say that he wishes they would have taken a more careful approach to announcing the idea.
"I would file this under hindsight is 20/20. If I could do it over again, our mistake, HBO's mistake, the idea that we would be able to announce an idea that is so sensitive and requires such care and thought on the part of the producers in a press release was misguided on our part," he admitted.
"If I had it to do over again, what we ended up doing after the fact with the four producers, [was to] have them sit with journalists. Richard [Plepler, HBO Chairman] and I had the benefit of sitting with these four producers. We heard why they wanted to do the show, why it was important to them so we had that context," Bloys said.
"I completely understand somebody reading the press release would not have that at all. If I had it to do again, I would've rolled it out with producers talking on the record so people understand where they're coming from," he added.prevnext
Internet Reactions to 'Confederate'
One user wrote, "Can we please not have a TV show called Confederate where the premise is 'what if the south had won?' ?!?!?!?!"
Another said, "give me the confidence of white showrunners telling hbo they wanna write slavery fanfic."
Referencing an infamous scene from Game of Thrones, one person said, "Benioff & Weiss accidentally filmed what they didn't even realise was a rape scene. What are they going to do with a slavery story?"
"Two white guys making a show where black slavery features prominently. This is profoundly tone deaf," said another person.
A couple of "verified" Twitter users also chimed in. Ira Madison, who is a culture writer for The Daily Beast and GQ, said, "They have two black writers joining but Benioff and Weiss are the exec producers. Also the idea is messy whoever writes it. No thanks."
"If HBO wants a series about the Civil War so bad, here's an idea - PICK UP UNDERGROUND," said ReBecca Theodore, a contributing writer for Entertainment Weekly, Forbes and the NY Times. Theodore was referencing the cancellation of the much beloved WGN series.prevnext
Internet Reactions to 'Confederate' (cont.)
While the overwhelming majority of responses to the show were negative, there were a few people who responded positively, or at least were willing to hold off judgment until the show airs.
One user wrote, "Holy s--t, the replies on this. Guys, I seriously doubt this is going to be pro-slavery, and this is a common alternate history theme..."
Comparing the show to others before it that are of similar ilk, another user said, "It's not an endorsement. Just like Philip K Dick's The Man in the High Castle or Robert Harris' Fatherland weren't endorsing Nazism."
"Let's see what this Confederate team puts together. Could be interesting," said one person.prevnext
'Game of Thrones', 'Confederate' Creators Respond
Now, the creators have fired back at their critics.
In an interview, Benioff candidly said, "So everything is brand new and nothing's been written. I guess that's what was a little bit surprising about some of the outrage. It's just a little premature. You know, we might f— it up. But we haven't yet."
One of the show's black producers, Nichelle Tramble Spellman, acknowledged the public's response, but made a case that the show should be judged for what it is and not what it might be, in a story first published by Entertainment Weekly.
"I do understand their concern. I wish their concern had been reserved to the night of the premiere, on HBO, on a Sunday night, when they watched and then they made a decision after they watched an hour of television as to whether or not we succeeded in what we set out to do," Spellman said.
"The concern is real. But I think that the four of us are very thoughtful, very serious, and not flip about what we are getting into in any way. What I've done in the past, what Malcolm has done in the past, what the D.B.s have done in the past, proves that. So I would have loved an opportunity for the conversation to start once the show was on the air," she continued.prevnext
'Game of Thrones', 'Confederate' Creators Respond (cont.)
One of the other producers, Malcolm Spellman, chimed in as well.0comments
You cannot litigate this on Twitter. It's not possible. I don't know that we can change anyone's mind… but what people have to understand is, and what we are obligated to repeat in every interview is: We've got black aunties. We've got black nephews, uncles. Black parents and black grandparents. We deal with them every single day. We deal with the struggle every single day. And people don't have to get on board with what we're doing based on a press release," he said.
"But when they're writing about us, and commenting about us, they should be mindful of the fact that there are no sell-outs involved in this show. Me and Nichelle are not props being used to protect someone else. We are people who feel a need to address issues the same way they do, and they should at least humanize the other end of those tweets and articles," he continued.prev