Netflix has released the first, full-length trailer for Sense8 - a new 12-part series from Lana and Andy Wachowski, and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. All 12 episodes will be available in 4K for binge watching from 5 June.
The show focuses on eight strangers from across the world who experience the same disturbing vision. At the same time they begin to develop inexplicable sensory powers that bind them together – and make them targets. Matrix creators Lana and Andy Wachowski are making the leap to television for the first time with the show, which features a cast of familiar faces including Lost's Naveen Andrews, Doctor Who's Freema Agyeman and Cloud Atlas' Doona Bae.
Want to know more? We spoke exclusively to Executive Producer Grant Hill about the show.
What’s the basic premise of Sense8?
Grant Hill: At its heart it’s a drama, it’s love stories, it’s contemporary, so it doesn’t have that futuristic element. It has this one basic conceit which is very much the core of the project, what these eight Sense8s are. Where this series starts, you identify these eight characters, very different lives, and at about the same time they all experience a really violent vision from out of nowhere. They individually feel very alone, not to mention freaked out. As it goes on they don’t have the violent visions anymore but things are slightly out of whack. The characters start to see flashes from somebody else’s lives in places they don’t know about.
Why did the Wachowskis choose to shoot in eight different cities?
Like all of their decisions, there is a real substantial foundation to it because the characters were deliberately chosen to be very divergent both in terms of where they come from and what sort of people they are. We had to put that in its real context. Saying somebody is a truck driver in Kenya has no real meaning unless you see that person in that city doing what actually happens there. That was making each of the cities its own character. You, as a viewer, get to know these cities in ways that are very intimate.
How is the series split between directors with the Wachowkis, Tom Tykwer, James McTeigue and Dan Glass?
In a first series, you want the creators to be involved as much as possible, particularly if they are creator-developers and creator-writers. Lana and Andy did seven, James did two, Tom did two and Dan Glass did one. Lana and Andy can shoot very quickly in film terms but we were looking at 60-minute episodes, so we had to shoot an average of ten or eleven pages a day. That wasn’t something that they had done before. We did a rehearsal shoot in San Francisco about ten days before we started as a way of trying out the methodology and the crew. It went fine, but they came up to me afterwards and said, ‘Can we cancel the next couple of days for our stuff? We need to think about this.’ I said why? And they said, ‘We’re sort of betwixt and between. We’re not quite quick enough and we’re not quite slow enough to get the story so we really need to change the format.’ They came back two days later, ‘Okay, great, we know how to do this now.’ What it meant is that they’d really thought it through and knew where the emphasis was. They wanted to preserve very much a widescreen look in the shooting style and they wanted for it to be incredibly rich because you’re going through such divergent cultures. They just made some changes to how they wanted to operate and how they wanted to structure the crew. And that was it. After that, they never looked back.
Interview by David West