Sense8

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Sense8
Genre
Created byThe Wachowskis J. Michael Straczynski
Written by
Directed by
Starring
Composer(s)Johnny Klimek
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Andy Wachowski
  • Lana Wachowski
  • J. Michael Straczynski
  • Marc Rosen[1]
  • Leon Clarance
  • Deepak Nayar
Production location(s)
Cinematography
Production company(s)
Release
Original networkNetflix

Sense8 (a play on the word sensate /ˈsɛnst/, meaning aware[5]) is an upcoming American science fiction drama series created, produced and co-written by J. Michael Straczynski and The Matrix trilogy creators Andy and Lana Wachowski, and will be streamed on Netflix in June 5, 2015.[6] The series revolves around eight strangers from different parts of the world who suddenly become mentally and emotionally linked and it will explore the themes of identity, sexuality, gender, persecution, bigotry, and fear.[7][8]

Premise

Sense8 will tell the story of eight strangers (Smith, Middleton, Ameen, Bae, Silvestre, Desae, Riemelt, and Clayton)[2] from different cultures and parts of the world who in the aftermath of a tragic death suddenly find themselves mentally and emotionally connected – an evolutionary leap of technological origin. While trying to figure why this happened and what it means for the future of mankind, a mysterious and powerful man named Jonas will try to bring the eight together, while another stranger called Mr. Whispers and his organization will attempt to hunt them down to capture or assassinate them. Each episode will heavily feature one character and their story.[8][2][9]

Cast

Main

The characters of the main cast are called "Sensates"[6] and for plot reasons they are exactly the same age, somewhere between mid- to late-20s.[10] Despite the actors having shot scenes together, their characters won't be physically meeting each other in the first season due to the showrunners wish to explore each character's respective culture. Their presence in the same scene is attributed to their telepathic abilities.

Recurring

Production

Conception

"We started out at one point talking about how evolution involves creating ever greater circles of empathy: You belong to your family, then you belong to your tribe, then two tribes link up and now you have empathy for your people on this side of the river, and you’re against the people on the other side of the river... on and on through villages, cities, states and nations... So what if a more literal form of empathy could be triggered in eight individuals around the planet... who suddenly became mentally aware of each other, able to communicate as directly as if they were in the same room. How would they react? What would they do? ... What does it mean? And what would the world think about people with this ability? Would they embrace it, or hunt them down...? It would give us a perfect platform to do a show that was loaded with action, big ideas, some amazing stunts that no one’s done before, and play to a planetary audience."

J. Michael Straczynski, co-writer[5]

The origins of Sense8 date back several years to the night Lana Wachowski and Straczynski "had a late-night conversation about the ways technology simultaneously unites and divides us".[1] The conversation took place over a weekend Straczynski spent at Lana's home in San Francisco brainstorming ideas together, due to his experience working with the format.[5] Both the Wachowskis and Straczynski agreed if they were to do a TV series, they would have to attempt to do something unique that had never been done before.[27] The goal was to change the "vocabulary for television production", the same way The Matrix became a major influence for action movies since its release.[28] After several days of discussion they decided on exploring the relationship between empathy and evolution in the human race.[5]

Development

The trio became so excited with the concept they came up with, they decided to develop it on their own instead of pitching it to someone else and on October 2, 2012, Variety reported the Wachowskis and Straczynski had written three hour-long spec scripts and with Straczynski's Studio JMS and Georgeville Television began shopping them around in L.A. the following week.[29] If the series was picked up the siblings and Straczynski would share showrunner duties. Additionally the Wachowskis planned to direct a few episodes of the show if their schedule permitted it. According to Straczynski the first meeting with potential buyers was with Netflix and it went really well. By noon and before they had the chance to pitch it to other outlets, such as HBO,[28] Netflix called them to preemptively offer to buy and produce the first season.[5] Netflix announced that they had ordered a 10 episode first season for the series on March 27, 2013.[1] The Wachowskis would later state that during filming Netflix decided to extend the season to 12 episodes.[30][31]

Straczynski hopes that the series will consist of five seasons. Before filming began Straczynski and the Wachowskis mapped out five seasons worth of stories for the series. The actors cast will all be signed for five seasons. "We pitched it as a five-year story. We've mapped out five seasons of this thing, our actor deals are being made for five seasons, five or six depending on the breaks," said Straczynski.[10]

Comic book artist Steve Skroce who has been collaborating with the Wachowskis since The Matrix on both film and comic book mediums has created storyboards for the show.[32]

Filming

Production on the series began in June 2014 in San Francisco.[33] The filmmakers successfully negotiated with the organizers of the Clarion Alley Mural Project and select artists, to feature their artwork in the show.[34] To properly tell the international aspects of the story, filming took place on location around the globe in various places in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, Iceland, Mexico, Kenya and India.[2] Shooting in Chicago began on July 9, and wrapped up on August 8,[35] with filming taking place both on location and at the Cinespace Film Studios.[33] During location scouting the producers were suggested the City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana, and changed one site's description in the scripts to a church accordingly.[36] They also shot some scenes in Chicago's Superdawg drive-through restaurant, while customers were being asked not to stare at the filming. Lana and Andy are frequent customers of the place.[37] A sequence in Nairobi required a crowd of 700 extras, 200 cars and a helicopter.[19] In Mumbai they shot a Bollywood dance number that included both English and Hindi lyrics and was choreographed by Slumdog Millionaire's Longinus Fernandes.[38]

In a few cases the production opted to shoot real life events and their audiences. These include in San Fancisco the Pride[39] with its Dykes on Bikes on the Dyke March[40][41] and the Fresh Meat Festival of transgender and queer performance[42][43] and in London a club scene taking place at the KOKO.[44][45][46]

Both the Wachowskis and Straczynski were announced to direct two episodes each, with frequent Wachowski collaborator James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin) and Cloud Atlas co-director Tom Tykwer also directing one each.[47] Filming in Chicago[33] and San Francisco[48] was handled by the Wachowskis. London and Iceland were initially to be helmed by Straczynski but he opted to let the siblings direct those sequences due to the extensive stunt work required,[27] Mexico and Mumbai by McTeigue,[49][50] while German director Tykwer whose Nairobi Half Life production impressed the Wachowskis was responsible for the filming in Berlin[51] and Nairobi.[19] Dan Glass who has been the visual effects supervisor for every Wachowski film since The Matrix Reloaded reprised his role in Sense8, while also making his directorial debut in scenes shot in Seoul.[52][53] The director of photography that worked with the Wachowskis is John Toll, who previously shot Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending for them.[52][54] McTeigue's cinematographer of choice is Danny Ruhlmann, who previously shot The Raven and Survivor for him.[55][56]

On November 17, Straczynski wrote on his Twitter that the main unit shooting wrapped with only a few winter shots in Iceland remaining to be captured the next month.[57] These were further delayed until Iceland had the necessary amount of snow to mid-January of the new year,[58][59] with the wrap party taking place in Reykjavík's Harpa Music and Concert hall on January 21, 2015.[60] By the end of the shooting the filmmakers had completed 100,000 miles of flight time, or four times around the globe.[61]

Music

Composer Johnny Klimek who co-composed Cloud Atlas' score and had a minor contribution in the soundtrack of The Matrix Revolutions as part of Pale 3, will compose the series' music,[62] which will be orchestrated by fellow Cloud Atlas collaborator Gene Pritsker.[63]

References

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  2. ^ a b c d "Wachowskis' Netflix Series 'Sense8′: Cast & Plot Revealed — Exclusive - Deadline". Deadline. June 21, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "NYCC: J. Michael Straczynski Opens Up on His Past and Present". comicbookresources.com. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  4. ^ "Netflix Series 'Sense8' Filming Car Chase and Crash in Buena Park". DNAinfo Chicago. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
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  55. ^ Wire. "DDA Announces September 2014 Bookings & Signings". Sound & Picture. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
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  60. ^ "Sense8 throws a wrap party at Harpa music Hall". Icelandmag. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  61. ^ Meredith Woerner. "The Wachowskis Say They Filmed A Live Birth For Their TV Show Sense8". io9. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
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External links