Full Circle: Is the HBO Series Inspired by Real People?

Image Credit: Sarah Shatz / Max

Created by Ed Solomon, HBO Max’s thriller series ‘Full Circle’ follows the story of a bunch of characters whose paths cross after a botched crime. When Sam and Derek receive a phone call about the kidnapping of their son, Jared, they are terrified. However, they are confused when their son returns home barely an hour after the ransom call. It turns out that someone else was taken in his place. While it’s a relief to know their son is fine, it leads the family to a path that unravels long-hidden secrets.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the story unfolds from the perspective of different characters, giving us an insight into their mindsets and what leads them to the choices they make in the show. The story is portrayed in a manner that gives it a touch of realism. If you are wondering whether the show is based on a true story, we’ve got you covered.

Full Circle is Based on a Fictional Story

‘Full Circle’ is not based on a true story. Instead, it is a fictional show written by Ed Solomon. Steven Soderbergh, who has collaborated with Solomon on several projects, shared in an interview with Variety that the writer is always full of ideas and pitching things that could be turned into future projects. During the post-production of Soderbergh’s ‘No Sudden Move,’ Solomon came up to him with a premise that was partially inspired by the Akira Kurosawa film, ‘High and Low,’ but involved “a couple of complications and an overlay that made it different.”

Image Credit: Sarah Shatz / Max

Solomon was intrigued with the idea of a botched kidnapping and wanted to mix it with something he’d read about twenty years ago. It was about an insurance fraud where people were murdered by criminals to get paid for their insurance premiums. Solomon wanted to mix these things and see where it led. After the director agreed, they worked on the script to develop it into a six-part miniseries.

Expanding from the idea of crime, the story eventually became about the concept of ‘what goes around comes around.’ “It’s about that question of what it’s about karma. It’s about your character. And so that appealed to me because what Ed’s very adept at is creating stories that, on a surface level, are very active and very accessible but have a sort of subterranean aspect that prevents them from being single-use plastic. They’re not things that you can watch and just forget that you saw them,” Soderbergh stated in another interview.

The show also focuses on class differences and how people’s lives are connected in weird ways. “What I liked about ‘Full Circle’ was you’ve got a family who has built this massive edifice and this fairly substantial economic eco-system on a lie. And they’ve been willing to look beyond that because of the status and the comfort that they enjoy,” the director added. Talking about the power dynamics and how capitalism plays into it, Soderbergh said: “Capitalism is too small a word for the problem that human beings have with human beings. These issues of power and status and a feeling that life is a zero-sum game, all of that stuff existed before anyone came up with the idea of money and creating value through trade and all that.”

Image Credit: Sarah Shatz / Max

With ‘Full Circle,’ Solomon wanted to make something that the audience could “watch it purely superficially as kind of a melodrama,” but with several layers to it. “If you want to look past that, there’s other stuff percolating that you can latch onto. That was the balance that we were really trying to achieve of pure American driving narrative and this other stuff that we also wanted to get into,” Soderbergh elaborated.

In six episodes, the show peels the layers of its characters and unravels their secrets, which paint them in a different light than they were at the beginning of the story. The conversations about the deeper issues are an essential part of the story, but Soderbergh’s primary concern was to keep the audience entertained. He wants them to be invested in the story and be interested in getting to the bottom of the truth. For this, it was important to present it in a realistic sense, something that the audience could relate to even though they know it is a fictional story.

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