'The Woman in The Window' Creators on Why They Had to Mock Stories Like 'Girl on the Train'

Kristen Bell plays up psychological thrillers with untrustworthy female protagonists in a new Netflix series with an absurdly long title — The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window.

The show is the brainchild from The Groundlings alumni, Rachel Ramras, her husband Hugh Davidson, and Larry Dorf. The trio spoke to Newsweek about what inspired them to create a comedy version of a "cliched" genre and why Bell was perfectly cast.

All eight episodes of The Woman in the House... are available to watch on Netflix from Friday, January 28.

Repetitive reading

The notion of an unreliable narrator has become more popular within a number of notable stories over the past decade, and Davidson explains how his wife Ramras first became aware of the trend.

"Rachel read about five or six of these books: The Woman in Cabin 10, Gone Girl, The Woman in the Window, Girl on the Train," he listed. "She sat up in bed one night and said 'oh my god. They're all the same' and she was laughing.

"Then she made Larry and I start reading and we just thought it was so funny. The unreliable narrators," Davidson continued, "They all have a tragedy that you don't know what it is until later, they all have these cliched elements and we thought, we have to make fun of it."

While The Woman in the House... intends to make fun of the genre, it isn't a straight spoof or parody because it intends to create legitimate intrigue with a mystery of its own.

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Kristen Bell's Anna watches the world go by with a good book and a bucket of wine in her hands in "The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window." Colleen E. Hayes/Netflix

Stop us if you've heard this one before, but in The Woman in the House... heartbroken Anna (Bell) watches the world go by from the window of her home with a comically large glass of wine in her hand. Her reality is shaken when she witnesses a murder in the house across the street, or did she?

Ramras told Newsweek: "I think it's the combination of all the cliches together, someone watching it might not have even realized and go 'Oh, that is in all these books.' So when you see them all together, hopefully everyone will just feel very in on the joke."

Not to say the Netflix series is a criticism of that genre, "We're not making fun of it. I love all the books and movies like this," Ramras said.

Dorf added, "We wanted to have the audience really get invested in the mystery, so we didn't want it to be too slap sticky of a satirization. We wanted it to be very grounded, we wanted the acting to be very grounded, and have the season get more and more absurd as you got into it."

The 'perfect casting' of Kristen Bell

Bell is the lead of the series and serves as an executive producer too, and the creators feel she's the perfect caliber of actress to lead The Woman in the House... on Netflix.

Bell is a versatile performer who can perform the funny in The Good Place, and the serious in House of Lies. "That's exactly what was brilliant about it," Ramras said. "Whilst Kristen is so funny and her comedic timing is brilliant, you don't see that she's being tapped in this and think 'Oh, it's a spoof'. And it's not a spoof. She walked that tightrope so beautifully. She was perfect casting."

The Woman in the House cast
Michael Ealy, Kristen Bell and Shelley Hennig star in the Netflix series "The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window." Colleen E. Hayes/Netflix

Also starring in the comedy murder mystery series is Tom Riley as the dishy British neighbor, Michael Ealy as her distant ex-husband, Shelley Hennig as the attractive flight attendant love rival, and comedian Mary Holland as Anna's best friend and voice of reason. Each of the actors check all of the boxes for supporting characters you'd expect to see in a a story titled The Girl in the or The Woman on the blank.

After the idea was formed, Ramras, Davidson and Dorf had to decide what form The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window would take.

Ramras explains why they opted for a TV series, rather than a movie which would have been traditional for the genre. "I think it works best as a series because it is comedic and because you have to be invested in it as a thriller, it needs time to breathe so that it can be injected with humor, but not too much so that you're not invested," she said. "It just seemed like the best way to have our cake and eat it too was to give it some space."

While many of the famous movies like The Girl on a Train and Gone Girl started out as books, the trio behind The Woman in the House... admit they're considering going the other way around and bringing out a book based on the successful TV series.

All episodes of The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window are available to watch on Netflix from Friday, January 28, 2022.

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Anna (Kristen Bell) is rarely seen without wine in "The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window" on Netflix. Colleen E. Hayes/Netflix