TBS’s TV adaption of Bong Joon-Ho’s 2014 action-thriller Snowpiercer made a big splash at this year’s San Diego ComicCon. The trailer dropped at a panel for fans and TBS announced that they have already renewed the show for a second season even though the series has yet to air a single episode. After the panel, the cast and members of the production team then sat down to discuss the new series with the press.
The post-apocalyptic film on which the series is based (which itself was based on a popular graphic novel) starred Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, and Octavia Spencer and was an indie hit that focused on a world plagued by climate issues and social injustice, and the cars of a high-speed train acting as the upstairs/downstairs for survivors. As the poor rise up against the rich, Joon-ho stages brutal fight sequences and explores speculative science fiction.
Adapted by Graeme Manson (Orphan Black), TBS’s Snowpiercer takes place seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland. The series again focuses on remnants of humanity who survive in a train that circles the globe. The cast includes Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind), Daveed Diggs (Hamilton), Alison Wright (The Americans), Mickey Sumner (Battle of the Sexes), Susan Park (Ghostbusters), Iddo Goldberg (Peaky Blinders), Katie McGuinness (Dirty Filthy Love), Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Annalise Basso (Bedtime Stories), Sam Otto (Jellyfish), Roberto Urbina (Narcos), Sheila Vand (Argo) and Jaylin Fletcher (Saturday Church).
In the trailer we see Connelly’s character keeping the train in tip top shape, maintaining the luxurious first class passengers’ accommodations and keeping the rigid class system intact. But not everyone’s sipping champagne. Beneath all the posh decor, a mutiny — led by Diggs’ character — brews.
Diggs says Snowpiercer does what any good science fiction is supposed to do–explore current issues, in this case–class differences–and use it to take a look at ourselves in a different way. “You start with that but take it and push it forward through proxies. That’s what art is for. You can show the audience someone who is not even a real person and get them to empathize with them and hopefully learn something about themselves,” he said.
Manson talked about the challenge of creating sets that could properly convey the movement and claustrophobia of being on a giant train you seemingly can’t disembark. They built several different cars that could be connected to each other for larger sequences, which made a huge difference when needing to do action scenes.
“Our sets are really quite amazing. We could link five train cars up together and you could walk all the way down,” Manson said. “The train cars are all jostling because there are two big grips shaking the cars… nd they could actually bend the tail too, like some guy’s on a forklift pushing it this way and that way,” he added.
“It’s kind of the most incredible bit of movie magic. When you’re inside of the train, it’s the most real feeling, like, intense thing ever. And then cut, and you walk outside and it’s just, like, four huge dudes on a seesaw,” Diggs added.
Manson says that the early renewal of season 2 has allowed them time in post-production to tinker with the episodes on the back end of season one, especially the VFX. He also likes that he and the writers can immediately start talking ideas while everything is still fresh.
Snowpiercer airs in Spring 2020 on TBS.