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March 22, 2023 1:13 pm

Israeli Surrogacy Drama Series ‘A Body That Works’ Makes International Premiere at Series Mania, Debuts Trailer


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The cast of “A Body That Works.” Photo: Keshet International

An Israeli drama series about a married couple who turn to surrogacy after struggling to get pregnant recently debuted its international trailer ahead of the show’s international premiere at Series Mania this week in Lille, France.

The eight-part series A Body That Works, known in Israel as Goof Shlishi, is one of 12 dramas to premiere as part of this year’s International Panorama Competition at Series Mania. The scripted show, produced by Kuma Studios, is currently airing on Keshet 12 in Israel and stars Rotem Sela (The Baker and the Beauty), Yehuda Levi (Fire Dancer) and Lior Raz (Fauda) alongside Gal Malka. Levi was awarded Best Actor for his role in Fire Dance at Series Mania 2022 and a member of this year’s jury.

The drama is written by Shira Hadad and Dror Mishani, and directed Shay Capon. All three are also co-creators of this series.

Sela stars as a woman named Ellie, an editor who longs to be a mother but can’t carry a pregnancy to full term and has had multiple miscarriages. Over the years she has tried artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, micro-manipulation, egg retrieval, sperm washing and embryo implantation. After her fertility doctor says that her next option is surrogacy, she and her husband enlist the help of another woman named Chen, played by Malka, who is a single mother and in desperate financial need. However the arrangement is not simple at all and the complexities of marriage and parenthood cause havoc between all the characters.

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Ellie must watch as a stranger is able to accomplish what she has failed to do many times and the experience also effects her husband Ido, who is forced to bring into his marriage another woman, who is impregnated with his child. Their intimate marriage is rocked by the presence of this young and healthy woman and complications grow from there. Chen also struggles with relinquishing control over her body for nine months.

“The point at which their failures and dreams intersect ignites a spark — one capable of tearing both their worlds apart,” explained Keshet International, which is handling international sales for the show. “A Body That Works is a story about the intersections of relationships – those where love, jealousy, desire, and generosity mix and mingle. It’s an examination of a powerful bond between two women, one that neither of them ever wanted.”

Keshet International added that A Body That Works has made a social impact in Israel, starting a national debate about fertility, family and the autonomy of women’s bodies that is being discussed widely in Israeli media, in-personal and on social media across the country. The show is creating such a buzz that it has shattered decades of Israeli viewing trends, growing its audience week on week while normally television channels in Israel expect to lose 10-20 percent of their drama audiences following between the first two episodes leading into a gradual decline thereafter as viewers lose interest.

Hadad told Variety she had a personal desire to make the show since her own son was born through surrogacy almost 10 years ago.

“I went through it too, even though, luckily for me, it was much less dramatic,” she said about the surrogacy experience. She added, “In Israel, surrogacy has been legal since 1997. However, unlike the US, it’s monitored by the state. You can’t do it just because you don’t want to get stretch marks. You have to prove there is a medical problem that prevents you from getting pregnant.”

She further explained, “If I could write three episodes about everything Ellie went through, I would. The question of when to begin was something that we discussed for a long time. It was very important to be honest and not show some ideal pregnancy that gives you that ‘glow.’”

Watch the trailer for A Body That Works below.

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