Created by Marie-Claire Marcotte and Rebecca Davey, Running with Violet is a web series that tells the story of two women who are in desperate need of a ‘girls’ weekend’. Stuck between motherhood and the horrible men in their lives, Miranda (Marcotte) and Jolene (Davey) feel the open road calling for a weekend of freedom and spiritual refreshment (even if that means that Miranda will have to bring her young daughter with them). However, when an accident results in tragedy, their plans unravel completely, leading these unsuspecting women into a life of murder, drugs and crime. With its wild premise and unique tone, Marcotte believes that the idea for the show stemmed from the two women discussing some of their favourite crime films.
“The spark of the idea was probably five years ago at this point,” she remembers. “If my memory serves me right, we were talking about the show Fargo, [which is a] style that we love. We were [also] talking about remakes and how there hadn’t been a Thelma and Louise remake. So, we just started riffing about us going on a road trip. She has two little girls so we were saying, “Imagine a road trip with a baby.” It just went from there, really. So [the show was] inspired by shows we love and our own lives.”
What’s unique to this particular project is the fact that each episode has debuted for free on YouTube. While this sort of use of online platforms maintains the very real challenge of finding its audience, Marcotte is also thrilled with the creative freedom that they have maintained in the process.
“There was a lot of freedom, which is something we were really into,” she says excitedly. “As writers [and] creators, we wanted to really get to the end of this story, [and] explore it how we wanted. Of course, we had people surrounding us—story editors and the like and people we trust—who would steer the story as well and give us notes and feedback. But a lot of our peers who work for broadcasters were telling us to take this opportunity [and] just tell story [we] want to tell with no one’s saying you can’t say this or you can’t have this kind of character. So, it’s a blessing and a curse in a way. We can really say what we want, but then we don’t have that broadcast or to show it to as many people as possible. Then what happened with YouTube is that we, we ended up finding this audience. So, I think at this point I’m really happy with the audience we have on YouTube. They’re really supportive and also really immediate with their comments. It’s nice to have the audience’s feedback right away.”
After receiving such a positive response from their audience for their first season, the women became increasingly excited as the prospect of a second season became likely. Although starting a web series can be a risky prospect, Marcotte firmly states that further adventures was always their plan.
“It’s a story that we feel can go on forever,” she beams. “There can be a different heist every season. We’re following two women who are really trying to anchor out life, which we never quite figure out do we as humans. The mistakes keep happening and you learn from them, then you make even bigger mistakes. That’s kind of the fun of it. The joy to see them struggle and try to figure it out and try to do better every time, clumsily at that. So we always had the intention of keeping the show going. We ended with a big cliffhanger to do that [in Season One] and we’re ending Season Two again with the idea of there being more story to come.”
“We’re going start [our online release schedule] with three episodes [of new season] on July 15th, another three on the 22nd and then another four on the 29th. It’s really the three last Monday’s of July. Hopefully Mondays in July is going to become a thing online. We’ll have some videos in between the releases to keep our dialog active and amp up the next release every Monday.”
Given the wild [mis]adventures of the lead characters, one may wonder what these women are really looking for in life. Asked what she believes the motivation of these women may be, Marcotte feels that, ultimately, Miranda and Jolene fluctuate between the desire for power and wanting a simple life.
“At the beginning, they’re two small town women who are just trying to shake things up, and simply to go on a girl’s weekend. My character Miranda is in an abusive relationship so [she’s trying] to break free from that. I think their intentions at the beginning are very normal and natural. Break free and live the life you want to live. But then they get entangled and this drug business by accident so I do think it shifts for them. Then, they start feeling power in danger and they get lured by that and see that it leads to even worse things. [There’s a] danger when you do get close to more power and money and how it transforms you and what it makes you do. So, it’s always kind of flip flopping between the two. They want safety and a good life, but then they keep getting lured into these bad situations.”
Over the course of two seasons, both women have grown as they find themselves in increasingly dangerous situations. Asked how she believes Miranda has changed, Marcotte feels that her character still has a lot to learn about life.
“[Miranda] is still on us in her baby phase,” she laughs. “She’s totally figuring it out. She was meeker and a bit more lost in season one. So, I think she’s coming into her own in season two. She’s [now] a boss with her friend, Jolene, of this beauty business, and she’s starting to have some authority over her life [regarding] who she chooses to love and how she loves them. So I think it’s the beginning of testing her authority and trying to see where it all lands. Of course, she still has her extremely naive self, so she’s do things without thinking of the consequences and then suffer for it later.”
Of course, one of the things that makes this particular series unique is its feminine voice. With not only a mostly female cast but also content creators, Running with Violetportrays a world where women prove that their actions can be as treacherous as the men.
“To have a crime genre where we see women dealing with it, the morality of it, the violence of it and the [even] possibility for humor, I don’t think we see that often,” Marcotte muses. “I think it’s nice to see that we can be just as dangerous too. They’re in this beauty business and we think everything’s fine, but there’s some really dark undercurrents underneath all of it. So, it’s bringing women into that light [that shows that] we are capable of crime as well. A friend of ours is doing a documentary on prison wives and she was saying that a lot of people that she interviewed were saying that women have done all of these crimes as well but we just look at them and think they’re way more naive and not capable of doing such horrendous things. We’re all humans and we’re all capable of many things.”
With the impending release of Season Two, fans have wondered what they can expect from the new episodes. Due to the show’s success, Marcotte teases that they had the chance to expand their world this year.
“We have a lot of new characters, [and] a lot of returning characters,” she explains. “We’ve [also] really amped up the comedic side this time around. It’s still a dry humor, but a way more present and some more action and intrigue. It’s the same, but just more. We have more minutes this time, so it allowed us for more storytelling and more excitement. Really.”
Running with Violet makes its move on Monday, July 15th, 2019.
For full audio of our interview with Marie-Claire Marcotte, click here.