5 Secrets Charlie Brooker Told Us About The Miley Cyrus Black Mirror Episode

Have you been binge-watching the three new Black Mirror episodes that launched on Netflix yesterday? We have some insider information the show’s creator Charlie Brooker shared with us about “Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too”, the episode starring Miley Cyrus…

1. It’s meant to be a bit funny…

‘People often expect Black Mirror to be somebody frowning at a transparent phone until their life falls apart, so it’s quite nice to occasionally upend that. Similarly to this “USS Callister” also had quite a rompy tone. We liked the idea of a pop star being in a coma and somebody extracting music from their head, because that’s quite a heightened reality.’

2. You might recognise all the songs featured…

‘All the songs Ashley O performs are Nine Inch Nails songs. We had to get permission from Trent Reznor to rewrite some of his tracks as upbeat pop songs and he was really happy for us to do it pretty quickly. I got to rewrite his lyrics in a chirpy way, but I’m not the best lyricist in the world. There’s one bit where she sings ‘I’m stoked on ambition and  verve’, instead of ‘you’re gonna get what you deserve…’

3. Miley had some input in the plot… 

‘From the very off Miley had all sorts of observations on many things. She had lots of opinions on the performance and the music. It’s interesting how many things in the episode rang true to her. It’s obviously a heightened version, but it’s not too far off from the real world at the same time. I remember being struck by her saying that about a week before we had spoken to her she’d made an appearance on stage with some act that was aimed at an older generation. She said she went on stage and looked out onto this auditorium and no one was filming it on a phone, they were all looking at her. She hadn’t seen that for about ten years and that affected her quite a bit.’

4. The doll was very difficult to animate 

‘The team behind the Ashley Too really suffered, it wasn’t easy to animate. It was very important that it was plausible, but we also needed it to have two degrees of expression. In the start it had to look non-threatening and feel like an Alexa-type device. Then in the second half the simple eyes suddenly get a lot more expressive and its movement becomes more fluid. We didn’t want it to be too Toy Story.’

5. Expect the unexpected in the future…

‘If we just kept doing nihilistically bleak stories it just becomes really predictable. How we tell a story really depends on what the story is we’re trying to tell. Because the world we’re showing in this episode is a silly, glossy world it made sense to us to go romp with it. Sometimes we like to go a bit Pixar, and other times we like to go Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It all depends on our whim.’