Carla Gugino Knows Her New Show Leopard Skin Isn't For Everyone, But Explains Everything That Makes It So Watchable

Mild spoilers below for those who haven’t yet watched Leopard Skin, so be warned if you want to go into it completely blind.

Peacock’s growing library of original series is no stranger to crime dramas (A Friend of the Family), offbeat humor (MacGruber), and potentially mystical stories set within picturesque locations (The Resort). Sebastian Gutierrez’s latest small screen creation, the endlessly alluring Leopard Skin, fits into all three of the above categories, while also sauntering its way through several other genres. It’s arguably star Carla Gugino’s steamiest and most pulse-pounding project with Gutierrez or otherwise to date — which is certainly saying something — and taps into a surprisingly wide range of emotions and themes for a show that blissfully adheres to a swift half-hour runtime. And you better believe Gugino is well aware of how much the show stands out.

Speaking with CinemaBlend to promote the show’s haunting and mysterious first season, as seen above, Carla Gugino spoke to the idea that the streaming drama very likely isn’t for everyone, even if it does feature one or more elements that the majority of TV viewers would enjoy. Here’s how she started:

It's interesting, because I do think it's like a cinematic novel, in the sense that you don't know where you are going, in a way that I love. But I think that what's interesting is... I'm always annoyed, sort of, when people are like, 'It's for everybody!' You know? So what I'm about to say, I don't mean in that way. But what I think is interesting about it is there's the obvious element of a crime thriller, where you have these thieves who have stolen diamonds, who are on the run, who break into a house where there are these two women in a very secluded, deserted beach in Mexico living in this house together. And there are also some untimely dinner guests coming, and the power has gone out, and there's a housekeeper who we're going to find out has a huge history with both the the ex-husband / new husband of Gaite Jansen's character who is now deceased. There's just a lot going on.

Fans of Gugino and Gutierrez are no doubt aware that they’ve partnered up creatively in the past on the stellar TV crime drama Jett and slick features such as Girl Walks Into a Bar and Elektra Luxx. But Leopard Skin is on a whole other level or seven when it comes to the story and the twisty-topsy-turvy way the story plays out, even though it does also star some of the actress’ past screen partners, such as Jett’s Gaite Jansen and Gentry White, as well as The Haunting of Bly Manor’s Amelia Eve. Not to mention Watchmen’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Similar to how the various titles listed above fall across a gamut of genres, Leopard Skin wears that idea like a…skin. (Take note that the show has better lines.) Carla Gugino,  continued speaking to that point, saying: 

So it is a little bit like a story within a story within a story. And for that, I love the fact that it's very high stakes, and it has all these thriller components, but really there is this hidden, unconventional, provocative love story at its heart. And that is fascinating to me. I've always loved the notion of melding genres, and being able to sort of go, 'Why must we say it is this or it is that?' And if you have somebody who has the intricacy as a writer that Sebastian does, [it works]. He comes from South America; there are certain elements of magic realism in this. The fact that where we were shooting was so dreamlike, and the timeline goes back and forth, and back and forth. So, very much, that is also kind're starting to piece together where we're at. And in a strange way, by the end of the show, you understand the identity of the show, like the people are starting to understand their identities.

At no point during Leopard Skin's runtime can or will audiences be able to accurately predict where the story is going three minutes later, which easily makes it one of the most unique shows of the streaming era. 

All eight episodes are streaming now with a Peacock subscription, and while you probably shouldn’t watch with any younger kids around, you should make it your next binge. Head to our 2023 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are coming soon.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.