Based on the acclaimed filmmaker’s 2009 film of the same name, The Girlfriend Experience follows Christine (played by Riley Keough), a second-year law student who takes on an unlikely job: working as a high-end call girl. As we can see in the trailer, the series will delve into her experiences on the job, including the risks.
“Does this kind of work ever make you scared?” a man asks at one point. Although Christine says no, we see that she doesn’t have everything as “under control” as she indicates. She’s shown escaping from at least one man, dealing with another man that she says is trying to “discredit” her, and arguing with another woman about why she would do “something so stupid.”
The series has an interesting format, with episodes being just 30 minutes compared to the hour-long episodes more typical of dramas. Soderbergh edited the series “like a movie,” telling the story over six and a half hours, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht explained in an interview with Deadline.
“Although there is a really strong narrative all the way through, this is almost like little slices of this young woman’s experience that just build, and build, and build, and build,” said Albrecht. “So instead of having to craft within each episode a complicated story, the story is really told as pretty much one person’s story.”
The storytelling style may work out to make The Girlfriend Experience ideal for binge-watching. Albrecht admits that his own inadvertent binge influenced Starz’s decision to release all 13 episodes at once on its On Demand and Starz Play platforms. “What we’re doing is we’re highlighting the unique features of premium, which is different than streaming and different than broadcast of ad-supported basic (cable),” he said.
Along with Soderbergh, the series is executive produced by Philip Fleishman, Gary Marcus, and Jeff Cuban, as well as co-creators Amy Seimetz and Lodge Kerrigan. The latter pair wrote and directed the first season.
The Girlfriend Experience premieres on Starz platforms on April 10.