The character of Westerbrook High teacher Claire Wilson (Kate Mara) who falls in love with her 17-year-old student Eric Walker (Nick Robinson, who is 25 in real life, in case you were wondering) is not inspired by a real person, nor is the story based on real events from the newspapers. The 10-episode HBO series is an adaptation of the homonymous film, but the original film did not narrate real events either (the series has made some significant changes with respect to the film: here the teacher is married and the student, in instead of 18 years old, and therefore of legal age in the United States, he is now 17 years old). It is not, thus, inspired by the media cases of the American teachers Mary Kay Letourneau (a 34-year-old teacher who fell in love with a 12-year-old student with whom she ended up marrying and having two children; they later divorced, but continued to live together) and Debra LaFave (a 34-year-old teacher who had sex with a 14-year-old student), both found guilty of raping their underage students, although the protagonist is also a teacher who falls in love with a student and harasses. Showrunner Hannah Fidell has categorically rejected that her original idea was inspired by Letourneau or LaFave. It was another type of mental imbalance that she wanted to talk about in her film and in her series.
“This is a story about doing something that you know you shouldn’t do and yet you can’t stop. It’s a story about a lack of self-control. Yes, I have come to see a pattern in the type of women who go to bed. with his students … they have missed part of their adolescence and are trying to make up for it too late in life, “Fidell recounted while promoting the original film when asked about his inspiration. In this case, Claire, unlike Diane in the movie, is bored with her life and her marriage. Her husband Matt (Ashley Zukerman) is not a bad guy, but he is certainly a Peter Pan of life whose main goal in life, in Claire’s eyes, is to start a music group (he is obsessed with music, by way of contrast with what becomes an obsession for his wife). And then Eric appears, a 17-year-old boy, with revolutionized hormones, who falls in love with his English teacher and who sees her as a soul mate. The series shows not only how the relationship is built, but what happens to both the victim and the abuser after the headlines, and explores whether Claire is truly worthy of forgiveness.
Do you know what the real inspiration for the series (and the movie) is? A song: If Loving You Is a Crime (I’ll Always Be Guilty)by Lee Moses. Fidell wrote the film around that song, that was the trigger for his imagination, that was the inspiration to develop the story. The showrunner of A teacher heard the song for the first time on the movie soundtrack House of tolerance (2011), a story about a brothel in the late 19th century in Paris, and he became obsessed with it.
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Is Kate Mara’s character based on a real person?