A one-and-a-half page pitch written by a 23-year-old that doesn't name a single character or even discuss plot. If that doesn't exactly sound like the genesis of an HBO hit, meet the exception. In what it touts as the "definitive backstory" of Lena Dunham's Girls on the eve of its sixth and final season (which airs beginning Feb. 12), the Hollywood Reporter prints that pitch—and talks to the key players behind the series about how it came to be and what the experience was like. Dunham recalls writing what she now calls "the worst pitch you've ever read" while "sitting on the floor listening to Tegan and Sara in my underwear, being like, 'I'm a genius.'" Thanks in part to Tiny Furniture, the indie film she had made for $50,000, the HBO execs green-lit things, and then set her up to ... succeed, essentially.
Former HBO Entertainment President Sue Nagle "really, for lack of a better word, cock-blocked a bunch of male producers," says Dunham of Nagle's push to partner her with showrunner Jenni Konner, as part of what Nagle describes as a quest to "keep the experience in that point of view without the influence of a guy." And when famed Hollywood producer Judd Apatow came calling, Nagle was willing to walk away from his help if Konner and Dunham didn't feel good about it (they did). The piece is studded with tidbits: Apatow was the one who suggested Dunham's Hannah character getting cut off from her parents; Zosia Mamet's Shoshanna wasn't supposed to be a regular; Allison Williams' stance on which parts of her nude body couldn't be shown; and how Jemima Kirke's pregnancy factored into her decision to play Jessa. Read the story in full here. (Read more Longform stories.)