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Watch: Gemma Chan, Vicky McClure, Samantha Morton in Drama ‘I Am’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety — Stewart Clarke

The first-look trailer for female-led anthology series “I Am” sees Gemma Chan, Vicky McClure and Samantha Morton performing in the much-anticipated show for Channel 4 in the U.K.

The series consists of three separate stories, each bearing the name of its lead character. It comes from BAFTA-winning writer and director Dominic Savage, who asked the actors to draw on personal experience and improvise rather than working strictly from the script. The stories for each film were developed with the leading performers, with themes including relationships, identity and empowerment.

McClure, fresh off the success of BBC drama “Line of Duty,” has the opening story. In “I Am Nicola,” she stars opposite Perry Fitzpatrick (“This Is England ’90”) in a story of a dysfunctional and coercive relationship. “Every day we created moments we didn’t know existed until we were in the moment,” McClure said. “This is what is so unique working with Dominic. You’re reacting rather than acting.”

“The Walking Dead” actress Morton stars in “I Am Kirsty,” which also features Paul Kaye (“After Life”) and Vinette Robinson (“Sherlock”). It tells the story of a woman fighting to keep her family stable in a precarious world – and the sacrifices she has to make.

“Kirsty’s story is deeply influenced by my own experiences and is autobiographical at its heart,” Morton said. “Sadly, the issues explored in this show – poverty, austerity, desperation – are all too real for so many people and I feel strongly that it’s so important that we can speak openly about that.”

Chan’s series finale, “I Am Hannah,” follows a single professional in her mid-30s struggling to satisfy societal and family expectations.

“Like many women I know, Hannah is struggling with the anxiety that comes with living in a society that constantly reminds women about their ‘biological clock,’” said the “Crazy Rich Asians” star. “At its core, her story is about someone trying to free themselves from expectation, both internal and external.”

“I Am” is made by Me+You. The indie producer’s co-founder, Krishnendu Majumdar, who is the deputy chair of BAFTA, produces. John Pocock (“Chewing Gum”) and Faiza Tovey (“Uncle”) are co-producers.

Sky’s production and distribution arm Sky Vision part-funded the series. It has international rights and will sell it outside the U.K.

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