In Soulmates, Charlie Heaton (center) joins a cult to cope with the loss of his love and gets a spiritually cleansing bath


Brett Goldstein (left) and William Bridges

Fill 1
Fill 1
September 24, 2020
In The Mix

Science Vs. Soul

A producing pair peers into the future, where love collides with logic.

Mara Reinstein

Let's say, hypothetically, you've just endured a devastating breakup and are wondering if the right person for you exists.

A pair of TV writing partners and producers have some insight. "I've so been there," Brett Goldstein says sympathetically. William Bridges adds, "Maybe this just wasn't the right time to meet. Ten years later, this person might have been perfect for you."

They aren't just knowledgeable about matters of the heart — they're creator–executive producers of a new AMC series devoted to it.

The anthology Soulmates (premiering October 5) is set 15 years in the future, when scientists have concocted a test to determine which two people are destined to be each other's halves of a whole.

In the pilot, Sarah Snook (Succession) and Kingsley Ben-Adir (The OA) play a happily married couple forced to reexamine their relationship because of the invention. Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things), Malin Akerman (Billions) and JJ Feild (Turn) star in other episodes.

Considering Soulmates is the work of Bridges, who won an Emmy for cowriting the chilling "USS Callister" episode of Black Mirror, and Goldstein, an actor and cowriter of offbeat U.K. fare such as Hoff the Record and Derek, don't expect six episodes of happily-ever-afters.

"These are not strictly romantic stories," Bridges says. "We wanted to use 'the test' to see how it would affect real relationships. When you're thinking about the idea of true love, it can create an interesting conflict."

Both native Brits and London residents, Bridges and Goldstein were "fixed up" by director Jon Drever in 2012 to work on a movie screenplay. It resulted in the charming indie romantic comedy SuperBob, about a lonely, lovelorn postman who becomes the world's only superhero.

"While we were making it, we started talking about relationships and were wondering if there was a way to tell stories about soulmates and whether they existed," Goldstein explains. They hammered out a 15-minute short film, 2013's For Life, and back-burnered it — until Bridges went into a general development meeting in L.A. with AMC years later.

As Bridges recalls, "One of the executives was like, 'Those pitches are great, but I saw your short. What are you doing with that?'" Goldstein chimes in, "I remember walking around London and getting a phone call from Will asking if I wanted to make a show with AMC. Yes, please!"

They worked out of a London office and finished up postproduction via Zoom and FaceTime. AMC has already ordered a second season.

For what it's worth, Bridges has been with his wife for more than 20 years and thinks that falling in love with the right partner is a choice. Goldstein is in a new relationship and believes in magical love-at-first-sight fairy dust.

But are they each other's writing soulmates? They both belly-laugh. "Uhhhh, yes?" Goldstein replies. Bridges seconds, "Yeah, dot-dot-dot, sure, dot-dot-dot. But every relationship has ups and downs!"

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 10, 2020

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