Badass Women of TNT: Eliot Laurence – ‘Claws’

We know what you’re thinking: “This is the second installment of TurnerNow’s series ‘Badass Women of TNT,’ and you’re not interviewing a badass woman!”

At first glance, it may seem odd. We get it (he’s a man). But believe us, flipping the script couldn’t be more appropriate. Eliot created and executive produces “Claws,” the hit TNT drama that’s sometimes a comedy but always crazy. His characters are edgy, dangerous, funny and endearing and of course, badass. And in a total coincidence (not really), season two of “Claws” premieres Sunday, June 10, at 9:00 p.m. ET/CT on TNT.

A quick refresher: “Claws” is a dark, wickedly funny meditation on female badness set in a South Florida nail salon. It follows the rise of five diverse and treacherous manicurists who are trying to get by, set against the surreal, gritty landscape of Florida and the luscious, absurd, extreme excesses of the crime world.

“It’s feminist. It’s diverse, it’s inclusive.”

“If you looked at the boxes that this show sort of checks off, it's feminist, it's diverse, it's inclusive. It has a power flip. You might think that I was sort of mercenarily trying to get the perfect Venn diagram of all of these concepts and nail them into a world and into people,” said Eliot. “It really wasn't that. It was just literally writing a show that I would be obsessed about if I heard a friend talking about it.”

When given the opportunity to talk to a creator, it seemed appropriate to go back to the beginning. Eliot explained that when he pitched the show, the crazy news stories coming out of Florida were possibly what sealed the deal. “I had sort of correlated that there were three unrelated penis-biting incidents in a single county on the Gulf Coast of Florida. And Joey (Joey Chavez, SVP – Original Programming, TNT) was like ‘Tell us more. Keep going.’” He added, “Janine (Janine Sherman Barrios, showrunner/executive producer) and I feel really lucky that TNT was willing to be brave in their choices and put their confidence in us, because we're very proud of how wild the show is.”

“That's the kind of show we’ve created, where everybody's creativity is valid.”

When asked if he felt like the female characters in “Claws” could inspire other women (for good or evil), Eliot mentioned that it's interesting to think about all of the men in shows who are allowed to be flawed and complicated, but less so with women. “There’s really some ground that we want to break with this show,” Eliot added. “We want to make a show that allows women to be as complicated and layered and flawed, but we still love them the way we love these guys. We want our women to be as fully dimensional as those guys.”

We couldn’t let Eliot go without pushing him for some sweet details about the upcoming season. (Did we mention it premieres Sunday, June 10, on TNT? We did? Oh right.) He said it’s a very complicated season. In fact, he admitted that while he is currently writing the finale, he’s doing breathing exercises because of the chaos of all the converging plot lines.

While he couldn’t divulge too much, he did give us this little morsel: “I think we'll see by the end of the season Desna taking a solid step toward her destiny. We've seen the end of Desna being under somebody and being a mentee. I think it's going to be a really, really exciting way to end the season and keep people really hungry for what's going to happen next. It's going to be pretty thrilling.” And if that doesn’t whet your appetite for season two, we’re not sure what will.

Leading up to the season two premiere, private screening events were held in Atlanta, Houston and Washington D.C. Check out the photo gallery below for pictures from those exclusive events.