As a student of history, staying true to Charlie Blood’s 1901 time period is important to Danaher, a priority expressed in every aspect of the production, from the set designs to the costumes, to the characters’ language. Charlie Blood isn’t meant to be an alternate history, but an attempt to portray a wider view of it than was recorded.
Another inspiration for the series comes from Emily Skidmore’s True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twenetieth Century. The book’s nonfiction accounts of low-profile trans men assimilating into mainstream culture in an age with less formal documentation.
“If you could pass reasonably well, you could build a life for yourself,” Danaher says. The book made her wonder what other stories might have never been told — stories that didn’t necessarily end with an eventual public outing, persecution, and even court trial, like the men in the book faced.
She’s not following Charlie’s career path, but as a trans individual of Irish-Italian heritage with a strong relationship with her religious father, Danaher considers the show to be a “work of fiction as autobiography.”
While the show will explore queerness from diverse perspectives, including that of a black Australian trans woman and a Jewish gay cisgender man, Danaher says the story is ultimately an American one rooted in timeless themes of royalty, sex, consumption, secrecy, violence, wealth, and religion. Charlie’s troubles are less based in his being trans than continually “kicking the hornet’s nest.”