Trauma can manifest in an innumerable amount of ways. In HBO’s forthcoming drama I May Destroy You, lively author Arabella (Michaela Coel) is learning how to heal from a violent night that led to a bloody bruise on her forehead and a smashed phone—even if she can’t exactly remember how she ended up with either. The half-hour series explores sexual assault and consent as Arabella works to gather the pieces of both the night in question and her life after assault. The story at the heart of the series mirrors elements of Coel’s own experiences with sexual violence during her Chewing Gum days, which she shared back in 2018. Like Arabella, Coel had difficulty remembering the events at first, then learned that she had been attacked by strangers. As the writer, executive producer, and star of I May Destroy You, viewers will recognize notes of Coel’s chilling story imbued in her character as she undergoes therapy and medical attention.
Despite the heavy subject matter, the below trailer still includes moments of recognizable humor and levity, which tap into Coel’s BAFTA-celebrated proclivity for comedy. I May Destroy You premieres on HBO June 7. In the meantime, check out the Little Simz-backed whirlwind of a peek.