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Meet Dana Stevens, the L.A. writer and producer who set sultry new legal drama Reckless here in Charleston.
Dana Stevens has spent more than two decades working on Hollywood films (as a screenwriter for movies such as Safe Haven, City of Angels, and Life or Something Like It and as executive producer for Julie & Julia) as well as TV shows (she created What About Brian for ABC). And recently, the Arizona-raised UCLA grad turned her eye on Charleston, choosing it as the setting for CBS drama Reckless, expected to air this spring or summer. We caught up with her after filming wrapped to learn more.
CM: How did you discover Charleston?
DS: I was in North Carolina working on the script adaptation for Safe Haven, and my boyfriend, Scott Davis—who’s the city attorney for New Bern—suggested we go to Charleston, as it’s one of his favorite cities in the world and he wanted to share it with me.
CM: What was your first impression?
DS: It felt like London in Florida. I saw people living with their history, vibrant and alive, except here the architecture creates a sense of mystery and history unique in America, and you can go to the beach!
CM: What led you to set a series here?
DS: I started to think about the kinds of stories, the mysteries these beautiful old buildings would tell if they could. How old world meets new world here, and how interesting it would be to juxtapose the in-your-face quality of today’s hot button issues with modern people living in a historic city that still prides itself on traditions of gentility and manners.
CM: Will Reckless showcase just the city of Charleston?
DS: No, we’ll have story lines that go to the capitol in Columbia, the surrounding island communities, and the entire Lowcountry, while also highlighting cultural elements intrinsic to Charleston such as Spoleto.
CM: So, is it important that the Lowcountry be a character in its own right?
DS: Definitely. Reckless is a fish-out-of-water story in that the lead female character moves to Charleston and is faced with a culture unfamiliar to her, and in a fish-out-of-water story, the water is as big a part of the story as the fish.
Lives: Los Angeles and James Island, where she’s building a home
Favorite local restaurant: Rutledge Cab Company
Words to live by as a writer: “Listen, observe, and be inspired.”
Greatest achievement: “I know every mother must say this; my son, John.”
Where to see Reckless: On CBS this spring or summer
Written by: Michael Hearle
Photograph by: Jackson Lee Davis/CBS