Hacks Creators Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs Discuss That Scene from the Emotional Season 3 Finale

The Showrunners, Writers and Directors of Hacks chat Season 3's epic moments and their hopes for Season 4

by | June 13, 2024 | Comments

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This week on the Awards Tour Podcast, host Jacqueline Coley sits down with two-thirds of the award-winning creatives behind the Emmy-winning television show Hacks. Fresh off of their season 4 pickup, writer-director Lucia Anellio and writer-director and star Paul W. Downs break down season 3 of their fictionalized take on the life of Joan Rivers, played to perfection on screen by the incomparable Jean Smart. In this episode, discuss their incredible partnership both on and off screen, which began in their early days of improv at Upright Citizens Brigade and has remained through television shows like Broad City, The Other Two, and their early work in digital comedy. They also give us a peek at how they can remain in such a close partnership while producing a hit television show, talk about the incredible places they hope their two leads will go in the upcoming fourth season, and break down some of the most talked about moments from season 3.

Jacqueline Coley for Rotten Tomatoes: When did you know where you wanted to go in season 3, and when did you map it out? 

Paul W. Downs: Sure. We knew that this season would be [Deborah’s] quest for Late Night. We knew that when we pitched the show, actually, that she was going to be going after this Herculean task of getting “that chair.” And so we knew we were going back to Vegas. We were going to be revisiting a lot of our ensemble, and we also knew pretty early on in the writing that we wanted to have a twist in the end, but I think it was only midway through that we realized exactly what leverage she was gonna use for that.

RT: When did you let Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder know this is where your beats were going, and when did they learn about the big twist?

Lucia Anellio: Actually, we don’t tell them anything ahead of time. They just read the scripts as they get distributed. So they had no idea until they received the last script, which was probably a couple of months or two before starting shooting the season.

97% Hacks: Season 3 (2024) is streaming now on MAX.

Watch the video for the full interview with The Hacks showrunners Paul W. Downs and Lucia Aniello. 

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