Before we begin, take a look at the amazing trailer for TBS’ Snowpiercer.
“Snowpiercer is all that is left of the world.” In TBS’ post-apocalyptic, sci-fi trhiller Snowpiercer, TBS presented a press conference featuring Oscar® winner Jennifer Connelly, Tony Award® winner Daveed Diggs, Emmy® nominee Alison Wright, Mickey Sumner, Tony Award® winner and Grammy® nominee Lena Hall, Steven Ogg and executive producer and showrunner Graeme Manson.
We were able to talk to the cast about the show, and given that they were already picked up a second season, we were all curious to know what makes Snowpiercer a highly buzzed about show.
Q: What would you like viewers to take away from Melanie and Andre’s relationship dynamic?
Jennifer Conelly: I don’t think we’re allowed to say! But it’s interesting, since Melanie is in the front of the train and Andre in the back, so we have come to have some preconceptions about each other. And I think both characters have come with expectations of each other before knowing each other. And that’s the interesting process. The show allows us to see that – to first judge the character with having no idea about who they will be. And in time, we understand who they’re going to be, what they’re hiding, and what they put first.
Q: Currently in our political climate, things have become very tense and terse. What role do you think that shows like this, that are dystopian, that have gotten this extreme where people feel like they must maintain order. Do you think that it fills us in with what we’re trying to figure out with grappling power and power dynamics in government?
Daveed Diggs: Particularly in our science fiction, or even in all science fiction has some way of examining our present and that’s why we do it. In so, if you’re dealing with class you have to think that you have a responsibility in trying to allow us to look at ourselves in a different way. Just the metaphor of Snowpiercer in itself. The base of the storyline in the structure, allows us to pick it up and look at it from the front, the back, turn it over like you would a toy train set. It’s very useful. So what the show allows us to do is to take that further and allow us to examine ourselves with proxies, which are what artists are for. You put all the weight of examination of somebody else that isn’t even a real person that you can still experience and empathize with them and go through the things that they’re going through. And also hopefully learn things about themselves.
Q: In the fragile balance for survival, how do Melanie’s hard decisions and struggles force her hand in doing dirty deeds for the right reasons and how does she reconcile that with her own moral compass?
JC: It’s a little difficult because there are alot of things that we become to discover about Melanie that we won’t reveal right now, so that takes some fun for the show and letting it unfold. I think all of the characters find themselves in a very extreme situation and I think to survive and ultimately for the greater good, they find themselves doing things that they never thought possible. They never would have said on paper this is who I am, this is how I would behave. And I think Melanie has a lot of responsibilities that we will come to find through the course of the show and how mountiful they are. And she has her back up against the wall, doing what she can when she can. She does things that she generally doesn’t want to look at but is ultimately forced to look at but I do think that ultimately, her heart is in the right place. And that’s for audiences to decide, which is also the fun part of the show. Like where is my allegience or what do I think about this character, would I have done that better.
Q: Going by the trailer, what does it mean to be the head of hospitality, and how far does that power go?
JC: It means she’s kind of a hostess to welcome you, makes the daily announcements, talks about what will be served in the various cars and activities. She does the mundane daily announcements, smooths relations, solve problems, or things that need to be addressed. If things aren’t working, or if there are grievances. She’s a way to communicate to the front of the trai. She can bring the wishes and desires of the passengers to Mr. Willford, and also bring the wishes and desires of Mr. Willford to the passengers.
Q: To each of the cast members, what is one aspect of your character that you’re looking forward for the audience to see regarding character development?
Lena Hall: I’m looking to the surprise of having music in something that may not have music. Having it be a performance in my character. I like that I get to share that with my audience.
Steven Ogg: I’ll tell you what, don’t always judge a book by it’s cover, or even an animal farm.
Q: Would you mind going down the line and saying which train car or class your character is in?
Alison Wright: I play Ruth, and I have access to all the trains.
LH: Miss Audrey, and I’m right in the dead center.
JC: Melonie, and I am in the front, but my work takes me to all the cars of the train.
DD: I’m a tailey.
Mickey Sumner: I play a police officer, so I have access to all the trains.
Q: For the showrunner, can you talk about some of the challenges with taking the film adaptation and making it into the weekly series?
Graeme Manson: Sure! You know, I love the movie. And it has this incredible energy. It starts in the tail, and the goal is to take the engine and it’s relentless. And I really wanted to keep that pace and simmering sense of injustice and sense that something is going to explode. I wanted to keep the tone of the movie, but we needed to tell the story in all classes at the same time. Our heart isn’t just the tail but we’re telling stories that relate to. We’re not saying first class people are evil, we’re just presenting them. And people down the train are others. The physical aspect of the film, in terms of the physical action and the adventure – we really kept that, but we’re chill. We have time. Some of my favorite scenes are just between two characters. Especially, later in the season when we get to know them. My favorite part is when those characters can sit in front of each other and just have a tet a tete and it’s so much juicier than a fight.
Q: Was the character Mason split between Ruth and Melonie. Is that what I’m feeling since Tilda really drove a lot of that film.
GM: Ya, she’s split a little bit throughout the film. Both in purpose and in story whackiness.
Q: Can anyone who has a bit of her in their character talk about that?
SO: I have her teeth.
AW: I have a lot of her more than everyone here.
JC: I just have more of her in occupation and less of her in character.
Q: For Lena, you talk about how your character will be singing, and I know you’re a singer as well. Do you have a soundtrack to get in touch with your character?
LH: Ya, I actually do. I feel like a lot of her qualities come from Dita Von Teese. And so, in my mind, it’s like a burlesque in my head, just because her space, what she wears, is like a mask. She presents herself in a certain way. So she wears a mask in order to help other people deal with things.
Q: So seven years has passed since everyone has been on the train. Are we going to see them off the train, get a little bit of backstory?
GM: I’m not a huge fan of flashbacks, in general. Certainly this story didn’t feel right to flashback. But we do have an element of more so an internal of more ethereal sense, so like memory and guilt.
Q: For any of you, could you tease a favorite car on the train, or would you like to see added in?
JC: Honestly, I loved the containers – the houses made out of shoe containers in the third class. It’s so genius that in the third class, they repurposed all of these items, and have made into fabulous homes for themselves and passengers. You look at it at first and the impression is that you see this magical colorful world, and then you look at the things that it is made out of. It’s really wildly creative. Across the board? I was so awestruck at the sets.
It was a great panel, and I cannot wait to watch Snowpiercer next year!
Snowpiercer is produced by Tomorrow Studios (a joint venture between Marty Adelstein and ITV Studios), along with CJ Entertainment, who produced the original film. The series is executive produced by Tomorrow Studios’ Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements; showrunner Graeme Manson, who wrote the first episode; director James Hawes; Matthew O’Connor; Scott Derrickson, and the original film’s producers Bong Joon Ho, Miky Lee, Tae-sung Jeong, Park Chan-wook, Lee Tae-hun and Dooho Choi.