The Slap Team on Morally Ambiguous NBC Drama: You'll See 'a Lot of Gray'

Next month, NBC will deliver The Slap heard ’round the world — and, according to the miniseries’ stars, it may just spark an important debate.

“It’s a very interesting cultural exploration of the changing face of how to treat a human being,” star Uma Thurman said Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena.

RELATED NBC Recast Scoop: Uma Thurman In, Mary-Louise Parker Out in The Slap

Based on a 2010 novel and Australia’s original 2011 series, The Slap stars Zachary Quinto (American Horror Story) as Harry, who sparks a family conflict when he slaps another couple’s misbehaving child. Peter Sarsgaard (The Killing), Thandie Newton (Rogue), Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom) and Melissa George, who starred in the Aussie version, round out the cast.

“You’re going to see very little black and white, and a lot of gray,” Quinto said of the ripple effect caused by his character. “It’s not just about the slap. All of these characters come to the table with a tremendous amount of internal conflict. The slap is just a launching point.”

the-slap-2Regarding the miniseries’ eight-episode format, executive producer Walter Parkes said the following installments will become a “short story about one of the characters,” adding that the show is “far more psychological” than its Australian predecessor.

It isn’t lost on the miniseries’ stars that The Slap is rather edgy material for network television. According to Newton, the show has all the creative intensity of a cable series without the often-gratuitous sex, drugs and violence.

“It meant we had to dig deeper into our performances, in a way,” Newton said. “It’s so much nicer for the audience to have to imagine those extremes. We didn’t have to compromise.”

But if you’re worried that the slapped child — or any of the show’s young actors, for that matter — was put in any danger on set, put those fears aside.

“It was a big scene with a lot of technical elements to it,” Quinto said of the pilot’s climactic sequence. “The thing that was most important to everybody was the safety and the wellbeing of the kids. It was a time of really bonding and getting to know each other, even though it was in the context of this horrific act.”

The Slap will be delivered on Thursday, Feb. 12 at 8/7c.

Your early thoughts on The Slap? Drop ’em in the comments section below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Dan says:

    Gee, Zach, thanks for clarifying it’s not “just about the slap” and it’s just “a launching point”. I thought you’d be discussing the small act for 8h.

  2. Abby says:

    Truthfully, I’m not interested in this concept at all. One, its kind of icky because no one should hit kids, theirs or another parent’s (in my opinion), and two, I can’t even begin to envision how you turn this concept into a multi-season series…

    • Abby says:

      …and still call it The Slap.

    • johnhelvete says:

      2) I dont think a TV series has to be a 7 season show with the same characters or premise. The writers can cheat ala American Horror Story and come up with a “new” name for the series if there is a season 2.

      • Abby says:

        I totally agree. Its more the original premise that irks the whole thing for me. If the slap is merely a launching point to larger drama, the original premise irks me. If this is going to anthological a la AHS, is a slap going to be the original premise each time out? If not, I don’t know why it’s called The Slap except to be PR bait.

        • Isobel says:

          The Australian series was just one season, it was about the effect of the slap on the group at the party and whether they supported Harry or not, every episode focused on a different character

    • Ferris says:

      uhmmm… what part of 8-episode miniseries was unclear?

      • Abby says:

        Nothing. I struggle to envision how this show could possibly use the premise as a launching point for the show, yet still be called The Slap. Are we going to keep referring to the slap that one time? Is their world going to spiral into a million directions because of one slap? This is what I can’t really get. But as stated by me as well, its not as though the original premise interests me that much either, so maybe that’s how I can’t picture it. Chillax.

        • James says:

          Better if you read the book first before delving into the show or the original miniseries. Reviews for the book alone has been positive, especially those who are into literature tackling contemporary social issues.

        • Isobel says:

          Pretty much yes it has a lot of effect

  3. Tran says:

    I’ll be shocked if Zachary Quinto comes back for the Heroes reboot or perhaps he’ll reprise his role as Spock in the upcoming third installment of the rebooted Star Trek movie.

  4. Et al says:

    So the kid is a girl in this one? That’s actually an interesting change. Still not sure if this required a remake though…

  5. Boiler says:

    What an awful premise. NBC is crazy!!

    • Eran says:

      Don’t be quick to judge. The Aussie original is masterful. A hard premise does not an awful show make.

      • Tammie says:

        Its not judging, we work on teaching our children to speak up if they are being touch in the wrong way, we work on teaching our children not to be bullied or being a bully, this show should not been made

  6. iamkessuki23tw says:

    did mary louise parker drop out? i thought she was cast to play Anouk (my fave character played by essie davis on the AUS version).

  7. CourtTV says:

    The casting is great. I’ll check it out.

  8. Ally Oop says:

    Once again, I will criticize American networks’ need to remake a show just because the characters have accents. I just watched The Slap on Netflix and there’s no need to remake this.

  9. Shell says:

    NBC, it’s shameful that Parenthood is being cancelled and this show “Slap” is replacing it? The context of this new show sounds stupid, and ridiculous. Isn’t there enough cop shows, criminal investigations, and stupid reality TV to watch…. What happen to pure family shows that most households can relate to like Parenthood?

  10. Tammie says:

    This is not a show that I want to see or want a child that has been abused

  11. nofooling says:

    I know a few kids who deserve a good slap. Guess I’m on Harry’s side. ;)Obviously the show will be about how polarizing views and single dramatic event can destroy relationships. Not just slapping kids for 8 hours. People are so dense.

    • lori degarmo says:

      Thank you so much for making a comment that actually makes sense. Yes, people are incredibly dense. Guess I’m on Harry’s side in a way too. That child was completely OFC and the parents did nothing to control him. In my opinion, his parents’ (esp. mother’s) extreme coddling of the child was doing him more harm than a slap he deserved for putting other children in danger! The Slap has some very fine dramatic & psychological material.

  12. Nikki says:

    Not sure what to think about this show. I like the actors that are in it (Quinto, Newton & Sarsgaard) but the concept doesn’t really work for me. I might check out the premiere but not convinced yet.

  13. Doc says:

    HOrrific act? Get over yourselves. Kid swinging a bat and endangering my kid, I’d have murdered the little bastard.

  14. Amanda says:

    WTH, I am a 35 year old woman from a middle class family. My first reaction to this series review was…OMG…. Can we please move on to bigger and more serious issues. So the guy slaps the kid, of course in this day and age the parents sue. Give me a break…I’m so sick of people suing for every single thing. If the kid did not have any physical effects from the friggin slap such as a deformity or speech impediment, everyone should move on with their lives.

  15. Amanda says:

    In addition to my earlier comment, the fact that this article had to clarify that no one in the show was actually harmed during filming is really the disturbing thing to me…..After all these years I always thought the animals in movies that got hurt or killed was pretend….Stupid me:-)

  16. J. Field says:

    Seriously? A miniseries? You couldn’t have told the story in an hour and been done with it? Guess the network is getting hard up for new ideas.