Amazon Studios Creator Q & A: Lindsey Stoddart (“Salem Rogers”)

Sometimes inspiration hits like flash of lightning … or a slap from a supermodel. That’s kind of how it worked for Lindsey Stoddart, who turned some acting downtime (and a touch of personal experience) into Salem Rogers, the latest comedy series to be optioned by Amazon Studios.

Salem Rogers is, in Stoddart’s words, the story of an “arrogant, filterless 36-year-old ex-supermodel, who is tricked into leaving rehab after 10 years and determined to regain the career she once had in her 20s.” Salem’s former assistant Agatha has moved on … but not far enough to escape Salem’s influence.

We asked Stoddart a few questions about her show, and herself:

What inspired you to create this particular series?

I started writing Salem during a lull in my acting career. It was solely a creative endeavor as a result of almost no one asking me to audition for their TV shows for like a year, so I started writing characters I’d like to audition for. 

Why this story, why this setting?

I was an incredibly unsuccessful teen model. That doesn’t really have anything to do with it, I just like to share that whenever appropriate. I’m fascinated by/jealous of people who, like Salem, appear to have no concept of failure. It’s like they live in an alternate reality and it’s not just that they believe they will succeed, they expect to succeed and inevitably they do. It’s bonkers and makes me laugh.

Have you had any other work sold/optioned?

Salem Rogers is my first script but I have been a working actor for 15 years.

Are there aspects of Salem (and others in your show) that come from people you’ve known/dealt with?

There are parts of me in Salem and in her ex-assistant, Agatha, as well as friends, family, and people I’ve read about who beat up their assistants. 

Is there anything Salem won’t do? And, for that matter, Agatha?

Salem will never lie. She is brutally honest at all times, about everything, to everyone and assumes everyone else is as well. She doesn’t use sarcasm nor does she respond to it. Agatha, though much “nicer” than Salem, is desperate for success and validation as a self-help author, which makes her dangerous. 

What moments did you most enjoy writing?

The first scene of the show is Salem sharing at a meeting at this super posh Malibu rehab that she is preparing to check out of after being there for 10 years. She talks about her past drinking, drugging, modeling, verbally attacks other residents, calls her sponsor by the wrong name. It was fun.

— Stephanie Reid-Simons