Producer Miranda Bailey Says Studios & Streamers Turned Down New Series ‘Unconventional’ Due To LGBTQ Themes

EXCLUSIVE: Producer Miranda Bailey, known for movies such as Swiss Army Man, Don’t Think Twice and The Diary Of A Teenage Girl, says that multiple studios and streamers shied away from acquiring her completed drama series Unconventional due to its queer themes.

Bailey, who declined to name the companies, is instead planning to release the series in 2024 on VOD through distribution label The Film Arcade, which has acquired U.S. rights to the nine-episode season.

Eastsiders creator Kit Williamson is behind the Sundance Lab-developed drama, which follows eccentric, queer siblings Noah and Margot Guillory and their significant others Daniel Charles and Eliza Slate, as they try to start an unconventional family while navigating their thirties.

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Williamson stars as Noah Guillory, alongside James Bland (Insecure), Aubrey Peeples (Nashville), Briana Venskus (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Beau Bridges (Masters Of Sex), Kathy Griffin (Search Party), Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Friday Night Lights), Tuc Watkins (Uncoupled), Willam Belli (A Star is Born), Laith Ashley (Pose), Constantine Rousouli (Charmed) and Jenna Ushkowitz (Glee). Bland also serves as a writer, director and producer on the project.

Bailey told us: “Hearing how much a certain streamer loved the show but couldn’t buy it because ‘it has too many gay characters which would alienate half our audience’, made me sad for the state of our world, and about art owned by corporations but it also made me grateful that I didn’t have to worry about losing subscribers!”

She added: “Let’s just release this on VOD. We know who our audience is and we already know they love Kit and they will want, need, and love this show.”

According to Bailey, multiple companies told the filmmakers that they enjoyed the series but feared it might alienate some subscribers going into the 2024 elections.

Over the years, there have been a number of hit studio and streamer series with prominent LGBTQ storylines, from Modern Family to Heartstopper. However, there have been fears from some in the industry that a reduction in programming due to the strikes may hit minority filmmakers hardest.

Additional exec producers on Unconventional include Jason Beck, Madison McKinley, Erwin More and Larissa James. Cold Iron Pictures, The Film Arcade and The Money Pool financed the series.

Natalie Whalen, who was recently appointed Vice President of The Film Arcade, said about their company’s model: “The Film Arcade has the ability to report the real numbers for all equity investors, actors, directors, writers, and artisans involved in the project. This capability enables The Film Arcade to move ahead and lead a new era for indie filmmakers, producers, creators, and the industry alike.”

LA-based The Film Arcade, which has a home entertainment distribution deal with Universal Pictures,  has released movies including James White, Don’t Think Twice and Song One.

Bailey has also produced Sundance hit The Untitled Amazing Johnathan Documentary, which was acquired by Hulu, and the 2022 Sundance film God’s Country, starring Thandiwe Newton.

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