I mean, there’s some pretty graphic stuff in there – like castration. I don’t know if would be good for TV. It basically turns into torture porn at the end,” laughs Talulah Riley. She is discussing her new book The Quickening about a terrifying dystopian matriarchy where “the future is fully female” as the tagline reads, and in which men are second-class citizens – many are forcibly turned into eunuchs in grotesque scenes. London looks very different – for example, St Paul’s Cathedral is now an all-female spa where women can “free bleed” on their period and its dome has a golden teat like a “beautiful blond breast”.
Men are tortured, castrated and kept like trophy wives in marital homes. It’s as dark and gripping as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale – and, in my opinion, a no-brainer for a TV series. She’s also starring as Vivienne Westwood in Danny Boyle’s Pistol, the new FX TV drama charting the rise of the Sex Pistols on Disney+ – the fashion designer gave Riley her blessing to play her, and is, most famously, Elon Musk’s ex-wife. They married and divorced twice – first in 2010 to 2012 and then in 2013 to 2016.
“Obviously I understand it looks strange. But that logic made sense at the time,” says Riley, 36, sitting curled up on a chair looking refreshingly unglamorous in an old white fluffy jumper while explaining her on-off, on-off relationship with the billionaire Tesla and SpaceX boss–who is in the process of buying Twitter for $44bn.
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