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Is HBO’s Industry a True Story?

November 7, 2020
4 min read

HBO has a penchant for creating quality content, as is evident by shows like ‘Big Little Lies,’ ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm, and ‘Succession.’ So every time we hear about a series being added to their repertoire, our interest is piqued. After all, weaving such a rich cinematic fabric in most productions is a challenging feat, especially when you dip your toes into the financial world as ‘Industry’ does. We couldn’t help but delve deep into finding whether the narrative has been inspired by real events, and this is what we uncovered!

Is Industry Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Industry’ is not based on a true story. However, the writers, Mickey Down and Konrad Kay, had previously worked in the field of international finance and are well-versed with the industry. Hence, they decided to put their experiences on TV. Jane Tranter, who developed the show for HBO, said, “The scripts for ‘Industry’ have an energy and direction that comes from their firsthand experience of the trading floor, and their ear for sharp dialogue immediately captured our attention.” 

Since the topic is one that the entertainment industry clearly has a fascination with, it may feel as though you have come across the plot before. Plus, there are endless dramas out there that showcase the enormous pressures and realities of such a competitive field. However, the story is rooted in fiction. ‘Industry’ follows Harper Stern, (Myha’la Herrold), who has traveled from New York to London because she wants to work for the prominent firm, Pierpoint & Co.

But the competition is stiff, as her friends and colleagues, also recent graduates, are vying for those positions too. Talking about the characters, Herrold said, “They are at probably the most pivotal part in a young person’s life where they’re going from being in college to this very niche finance world where they’re suddenly being asked to move and participate like adults would — but they’re not that yet, so it’s like a child in an old man’s suit.” 

Finance dramas have always intrigued the audience, for better or for worse. Not only are such stories set in a high stakes milieu, but there’s also the endless sex, drugs, and parties that the protagonists indulge in to cope with the pressure. (Remember ‘The Wolf of Wall Street?’) Consequently, it will come as no surprise that ‘Industry’ also utilizes the conventional tropes of the genre. Herrold described, “On the inside, they’re scared to death because the environment is not anything they’ve ever experienced before.”

Let’s be honest; the 20s can be a very confusing and tumultuous time in an individual’s life. Not only are they trying to figure out what they want to do and where they want to be, but they also have to ascertain how to get there. But the buck doesn’t stop here. There’s the real-life, the “adult” world, and how one navigates through it could ultimately determine their success.

‘Industry’ is a bit atypical in that the story focuses more on the interpersonal relationship between the characters versus the actual trading, investment banking, and other concepts pertaining to the financial industry. Well, this is not to say that it completely eliminates the work aspect of their lives. But the series uses this professional chaos to fuel personal decisions.

Speaking about the friendship between Stern and Yasmin (the roommate), Marisa Abela said, “They know how to hold each other’s hand through being in this ultra masculine, ultra high-pressured environment.” She also pointed out, “And then at the same time, they have to make the decision about whether or not to stick by each other’s side or throw each other under the bus.”

The intersection of the various social realities such as capitalism, sexism, and drug culture can really make a person feel as though actual events inspired the story of ‘Industry.’ Abela even stated, “It’s that whole thing about: Is there enough space at the top for everyone, especially when you’re talking about young women.” While reality can most certainly inspire a show, that is not the case with ‘Industry.’

Read More: Where Is Industry Filmed?

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