The highly anticipated women's sports drama Long Slow Exhale premieres today, and the show runners warn it's a story no one has seen before on television.
Long Slow Exhale stars Rose Rollins as J.C. Abernathy, the head coach of a women's college basketball team who gets swept up in a horrific sexual abuse scandal involving her star player and assistant coach. With her career on the line, she aims to find the truth -- no matter what or who stands in her way.
Pam Veasey, who created the show, told ABC Audio that her aim was to "create a strong female lead who was flawed and redeemable in a world that you hadn't seen before." Veasey added that the story also shows just how many lives a sexual abuse scandal touches and asks, "What is the journey of those coaches -- or the players, or the victims or their parents?"
Producer Casey Haver said the goal of the project was to tell an "authentic" story that wasn't "[exploitative] in any way." Director Anton Cropper added that meant being mindful when it came to exploring every "character's headspace" to "really understand how they were affected and how their choices affected others."
Rollins said she appreciated the show's sensitivity and bold storyline because it created such "multi-layered, complicated" characters. The actress added that her character's arc had such a strong impact on her, she unintentionally began method acting.
"I'm not exaggerating. I would dream as J.C. -- I would have J.C.'s dreams," she remarked, calling the experience "a head trip."
Ian Harding, who portrays assistant coach Eddie Hagan, said it was "tricky" playing someone who is accused of an unspeakable crime but doesn't believe "what he did was wrong," which leads to some "painful scenes."
Long Slow Exhale is streaming now on SpectrumTV.