It’s fair to say that when Abe Sylvia has an idea, there’s no turning back or giving up. His latest attempt is the Showtime limited series George and Tammie which details the whirlwind love story of country legends George Jones and Tammy Wynette.

    This gripping tale of the king and queen of country music took Sylvia 11 years to complete, and as he said in a recent interview, “It was my first nut soup project.” As a creator of series, he has worn several hats. “I’ve been number two many times, but that’s my baby.”

    The six-episode series premiered on Sunday, December 4, and has already earned its lead role, Jessica Chastain, a Golden Globe nomination. The Oscar winner stars alongside Oscar nominee Michael Shannon and the chemistry between them is palpable.

    The series is based on the novel by George and Tammy’s daughter, Georgette Jones, titled “The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George”. The series launched its first episode simultaneously on Showtime and Paramount Network, with the remaining episodes airing exclusively on Showtime. The finale will air on January 8.

    Over the years, Sylvia grew closer to the family, especially Georgette. “I fiercely protect them and their story and it’s a story worth telling. It was moving and eerily, as deeply sad as it is, it’s an incredible story of life and love. , and I think those kinds of stories are timeless. It’s Romeo and Juliet in the world of country music.

    He told me that Georgette had given free rein to the scripts, but she had two essential requests. “Primarily, she asked that we not treat her mother as a tragic figure. Georgette was clear that her mother’s life was not a tragedy. Tammy had 20 No. 1 hit songs. It’s not a tragic life. Despite all the sad things she went through, she broke down barriers with her music. She went through difficult times and emerged as an iconic artist. Something happens in the mythologizing of women in the story, and it was a really insightful thing that she said, and it changed the way we approached the character.

    There was one other thing Georgette was asking for was that they don’t give anyone else credit for George’s sobriety. “There were a lot of people who took credit for getting George clean, and there were people who had backed him up and picked him up and dusted him a million times over, but you can’t own the another person’s sobriety. These things were very important to her, so we honored them.

    The series tells the complicated and passionate love story of this country music power couple and how their love inspired some of the most iconic songs of all time. There were also complications behind the scenes. The road from start to premiere was tough and took many iterations.

    Over the years, Sylvia has become known for her brilliant writing on hits like Liz Feldman’s. dead to me (she credits him for the twisted cliffhanger in season two) and the 2021 movie Tammy Faye’s eyes (also featuring Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker).

    He explained how George & Tammy was originally configured as a feature. It jumped into three studios with three different directors. “It was hard to do anything, especially stories about problematic and complicated people. That work was on TV, and we made that pivot. It also gave the story more breadth, and I’m glad we did.

    Although Sylvia thinks his original movie idea would have been great, he’s glad he had six episodes to work on. He also feels there is so much more to this story. “I could do a five-season version of it given the amount of material we have, but the six hours wraps up the story in its most essential aspects. Many events and career milestones drifted away from the narrative as it was about that third life that was created when George and Tammy sang together. It’s a love story between two people destined to make art together. Whether or not they were able to make things work personally doesn’t change the fact that the music they made together is proof of an enduring love affair.

    Tammy would be remembered as the ‘First Lady of Country Music’ with hits such as ‘Stand by Your Man’. To this day, this song remains one of the most iconic and best-selling country singles by a female artist. George Jones’ song “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is still widely called the greatest country song of all time. With over 30 No. 1 country songs between them, including the duets “We’re Gonna Hold On”, “Golden Ring” and “Near You”, George and Tammy’s legacy, both musically and romantically, remains one of the greatest love stories ever told.

    Sylvia always thought of Chastain for the lead. She signed on in 2011. At the time, he considered it a feature of Fox Searchlight. When it turned into an episodic, Chastain (a producer through her production company Freckle Films) recruited Shannon.

    He got more top talent behind the project, including The White Lotus Steve Zahn as George Richey, Walton Goggins as Earl “Peanutt” Montgomery and Kelly McCormack as Sheila Richey. And John Hillcoat (The road, without law) directed and produced by an executive.

    There is a bit of irony in this story of making a television series. Sylvia admitted he was initially looking for another country music idea when a Google search changed everything. “I grew up in Oklahoma surrounded by country music, and my parents were huge music fans and had all types of music in the house all the time,” he explained.

    He was well acquainted with George Jones and Tammy Wynette and their wild romance and signature songs. As he researched his other idea, a photo of the couple came up. “It was just the most beautiful image of them. It hit me like a flash that no one had done this story yet. I fell in love with George and Tammy that day and knew I had to tell their story.

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