If Gypsy’s title conjures thoughts of Stevie Nicks crooning the same-named Fleetwood Mac tune, you’re thinking like a showrunner. Lisa Rubin wrote the pilot — about a therapist-gone-wild’s harrowing identity crisis — while listening to the reflective track, which Nicks re-recorded for the show’s opening credits. EW is premiering the new version exclusively above.
“I’m very excited for the world to hear ‘Gypsy’ more like I wrote it — on piano. I am very proud of this version,” Nicks told EW in a statement about the latest iteration of the 1982 hit, which features stripped production from superstar producer Greg Kurstin, who’s crafted tunes from Adele’s “Hello” to Sia’s “Chandelier.”
Rubin’s first foray into the world of television stars Naomi Watts as Jean Holloway, an established New York City mental health professional whose sense of self — despite a picture-perfect life (her successful lawyer husband, played by Billy Crudup, and bright young child happily await her return each evening in their spacious Connecticut home) — is nearly derailed by her insatiable curiosity, which ultimately sees her skirting ethical lines as she dangerously inserts herself deeper and deeper into her patients’ lives.
In a less deliberate twist of fate, Gypsy might not exist at all if it wasn’t for its namesake composition, which Rubin says she heard for the first time over the in-store radio at a coffee shop, where she sat piecing together an outline for a potential project.
“I didn’t know the song ‘Gypsy,’ so when it came on, the tone felt so right. I looked up the lyrics and what it meant and it resonated, all of that longing and feeling, it felt fitting for the show, so it became part of the fabric,” Rubin tells EW of the track’s soul-searching lyrics as they relate to the series. “It suggests this idea of grounding yourself in who you used to be and the different versions of yourself. There’s melancholy in it, but something that also feels romantic… It feels bare and haunting. It’s still the same song, but there’s a darker element… Tonally, there’s both an eeriness and something bare that speaks to the ideas of identity and everything that’s going on at Jean’s core.”
With a completed script in hand and production on the series well underway in early 2016, Rubin admits Working Title Films president (and Gypsy executive producer) Liza Chasin drove the idea for Nicks’ involvement home thanks to a few well-placed connections in the music industry. After ideas of hiring a contemporary artist to cover “Gypsy” evolved into simply using the original Fleetwood Mac cut, Rubin explains something still didn’t feel quite right, and Chasin combed her network (“To pull that off was a pretty baller move,” Rubin notes) to facilitate a collaboration between Kurstin — whom Nicks wanted to work with — and the legendary singer. By September, after hard lobbying (Rubin even wrote a personal letter to Nicks), the song was recorded.
“Stevie’s doing that same thing [as Jean] here, in that she’s revisiting [something about herself],” Rubin observes. “It speaks to the overall idea of identity for her, for Jean, and for me. It all feels full-circle.”
Rubin finally got the chance to complete that circle when she met Nicks face-to-face after the song was done. “I met her after [shooting wrapped]. I think she was most excited, actually, at the idea that [Gypsy characters] Sam [Karl Glusman] and Sidney [Sophie Cookson] have a dog named Stevie because Sidney is obsessed with Stevie Nicks,” Rubin recalls. “I guess Stevie is really into animals, so she loved that. It was a big deal to her. But, I was like, no, no, no don’t you understand? I wrote the show listening to your song! [Laughs]. But she seemed really excited about the dog part.”
Gypsy‘s first 10-episode season premieres on Netflix in full Friday, June 30. Listen to the show’s titular inspiration as reimagined by Nicks above.