TBS’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi series Snowpiercer pulls into the station next spring. Audiences should be prepared for an interesting ride.
The show, which stars Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs, is set in a grim future. The deadly cold planet is completely covered in snow and ice and the few surviving humans all live on a massive, 1,001-car train that perpetually circles the globe. The elites reside in comfort at the train’s front, while the underclass — the “tailies” — are stuck in the rear.
Snowpiercer‘s basic story will be familiar to anyone who saw Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 film of the same name (itself based on a graphic novel). But the new TV adaptation offers its own spin on the idea.
Showrunner Graeme Manson: “There are no villains” in the series
In the 2013 movie, Tilda Swinton played the train’s terrifying dictator Minister Mason. But don’t expect to see an exact analogue to that character on the show. With multiple episodes to explore different characters’ stories and aspects of life on the train, Snowpiercer the TV show will offer a more nuanced take rather than a black-and-white, good guys vs. bad guys dynamic.
“We are really striving for internal lives for these characters,” showrunner Graeme Manson said at a press event for the show at San Diego Comic-Con. “There are no villains on this train.”
Still, there will definitely be echoes of Minister Mason’s memorable nastiness in the show.
“I have quite a lot of her in the things I do and the ways that I behave,” said Alison Wright, who plays a character named Ruth who acts as second in command an enforcer to Jennifer Connelly’s Melanie, the train’s Head of Hospitality.
Though Melanie is the official voice of the train, her character is more complex than it might appear at first. “There are things we’ll come to discover about Melanie,” Connelly promised. “Melanie has a lot of responsibility … she kind of has her back up against the wall,” the actress added. But “she has her heart in the right place.”
Telling stories from all classes
Turning an action-packed 2-hour movie into a multi-season television series (Snowpiercer earned an early Season 2 renewal in May) came with certain challenges.
“I really love the movie,” Manson, who previously worked as the showrunner for Orphan Black, said. “It has this incredible energy … its pace is relentless.”
“I really wanted to keep that pace and that simmering sense of injustice,” he added.
While the show won’t let up on the action, having more time to work with means there are also moments where things slow down and viewers will get to learn more about the characters. At the same time, Manson said felt it was important to “tell the story in all classes at the same time.” That means that the show won’t just focus on the tailies’ revolt against the passengers in the upper classes.
“We’re not saying the first-class people are evil,” he added. “The have their concerns and fears and the people down the train have other [concerns].”
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