Kate Mara Says A Teacher Meant to Be Disturbing: 'Comfortable Is Not the Word We Were Going for'
In the new series, the actress plays a predatory high school teacher who is in an inappropriate relationship with a student
Kate Mara says if her new show makes viewers uncomfortable, their mission has been accomplished.
In the new FX on Hulu series A Teacher, the 37-year-old actress plays Claire Wilson, a married English teacher who grooms and manipulates one of her high school students. Love, Simon actor Nick Robinson, 25, stars opposite Mara as the teen victim Eric Walker, exploring the impact he faces from the predatory relationship.
Mara told The Wrap that A Teacher was designed to be an "uncomfortable" viewing experience that explores the difficult subject matter from a new angle.
"Some people are definitely going to feel uncomfortable watching the show. It wasn’t something that we made thinking that it would be a super-easy watch," she said. "Comfortable is not the word we were going for."
"I don’t think you normally see the story told from this perspective or this point of view. It was one of the reasons why I was excited to tell it," added Mara. "... And I think it’s because it isn’t something that people necessarily want to talk about. The fact that it’s a female doing the abuse and being the groomer and all of these things I think is also something that is rarely discussed."
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"There’s that silly, like, stereotype of it being 'cool' for a boy to have that illegal relationship with their teacher — which is obviously not what we’re saying in any way, shape or form in this show," said Mara. "But I think it is a unique thing to explore it, and it was something that we wanted to be very clear about from the beginning, that we were not saying that it was right, that we were always saying this was wrong."
"And important to explore the story from both perspectives, not just Claire’s, but also Eric’s and how it really alters his life," she added.
The actress, known for roles on House of Cards and American Horror Story, said the TV series she's "most attracted to and wowed by are shows that make me a little uncomfortable."
"It’s not a story that we were looking to tell to make people feel cozy," she said of A Teacher, which is adapted from Hannah Fidell's 2013 film of the same name. "It’s an important story to tell in order to begin the conversation about how common this type of sexual assault has become. So that was more of the goal."
A Teacher is now streaming on Hulu, with new episodes every Tuesday
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.