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Paul Abbott aims to push boundaries with 'Hit & Miss'

The writer of 'Shameless' and 'State of Play' is back on offbeat territory with a DirectTV miniseries that stars Chloe Sevigny as a transgender assassin.

July 12, 2012|By Rachel Miller, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Chloe Sevigny stars in the drama series "Hit & Miss."
Chloe Sevigny stars in the drama series "Hit & Miss." (DirecTV )

British television writer Paul Abbott has created and written series as diverse as "Touching Evil," "State of Play" and "Shameless."His new miniseries "Hit & Miss" premiered last week on DirectTV and stars Chloe Sevigny as a transgender contract killer who inherits a family. Abbott talks about the new show and how his rocky upbringing inspired his work.

Have you put any facets of your personal life into your shows?

"Shameless" derives from my personal life, as it is based off of my family. The Gallagher family in "Shameless" is meant to parallel the stories of my childhood. I am one of eight kids. When I was 9, my mother left home for another man. Two years later, my father left us too. My siblings and I were then left in the care of my pregnant 16-year-old sister. There is a source from my childhood linked to every single story in "Shameless."

REVIEW: 'Hit & Miss' on the mark with transgender killer mom

Where did the idea of "Hit & Miss" come from?

"Hit & Miss" was originally two separate show ideas. The first idea was about a transgender mother and the other was about a hit man. Both of the ideas bored me, so I decided to slam them together.

Did you initially think of Chloe Sevigny?

No, I did not originally have Chloe in mind for this project. But selling a series like "Hit & Miss" that was going to cost about a million an episode made an international name appealing. And Chloe is so wonderfully androgynous and perfectly enigmatic; she's such a splendid fit for the role.

Do you feel the need to push established boundaries?

Yes, we do feel the need to push boundaries. We push right through them. We knew what the response from network executives would be like so we tried to present the transgender character responsibly. The producers interviewed loads of transgender people in Manchester and researched the transgender process thoroughly.

"Hit & Miss" is running here in its original version, but both "Shameless" and "State of Play" were adapted here. What was it like seeing your work "Americanized"?

I think that "Shameless" is a fantastic adaptation. They did a much bigger job of making it fit, and it's done with such a major, splendid confidence.

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