Netflix has picked up Altered Carbon, a futuristic drama series conceived, written and executive produced by Logoeta Kalogridis (Avatar, Shutter Island, Terminator Genesis). The project, which has received a 10-episode order, is based on Richard Morgan’s award-winning 2002 cyberpunk sci-fi novel of the same name. Skydance Television, which produces Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie, is the studio.
This has been a longtime passion project of Kalogridis. She acquired rights to Altered Carbon as well as the other books in Morgan’s “Takeshi Kovacs” series four years ago through Mythology Entertainment, the company she had launched with partners Brad Fischer and James Vanderbilt.
Altered Carbon is set in the 25th century when the human mind has been digitized and the soul itself is transferable from one body to the next. Takeshi Kovacs, a former elite interstellar warrior known as an Envoy who has been imprisoned for 500 years, is downloaded into a future he’d tried to stop. If he can solve a single murder in a world where technology has made death nearly obsolete, he’ll get a chance at a new life on Earth.
Kalogridis had written a screenplay on spec with David H. Goodman, which they’d tried to sell for years. It is now being made as a TV series by Netflix and Skydance, though Goodman is not available to work on the show.
“Altered Carbon is one of the most seminal pieces of post-cyberpunk hard science fiction out there — a dark, complex noir story that challenges our ideas of what it means to be human when all information becomes encodable, including the human mind,” Kalogridis said at the time of the book acquisition.
Kalogridis serves as executive producer/showrunner. Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross executive produce, with Fischer, Vanderbilt, House alums Russel Friend & Garrett Lerner as well as Mike Medavoy and Arnie Messer also getting a producing credit.
Was hoping Netflix would do a cyberpunk or a space opera series somewhere down the line. This happens to be BOTH, and sounds really neat. Be sure to finish these books, before the show's out.
Even if the network doesn't pick-up Person of Interest after Season 5, this should do just fine for my tech-thriller fix.
From an interview with Kinnaman earlier this month.
And you begin production on Altered Carbon, the upcoming Netflix series, after House of Cards Season 5. It sounds like a really great futuristic detective story. What can you tell me about it?
Yeah, it’s amazing. I’m so stoked about this. It’s pretty much Netflix’s biggest endeavor. They’re really going to be able to create a world that’s got a bigger budget than the first three seasons of Game of Thrones. It’s a hard R-rated, sci-fi noir that’s set 500 years in the future, when the human soul — or your memories, all your personality — is saved on what’s called a stack. It’s like a chip that’s put into the top of your spine. Then the bodies, they just become something that you wear. If you get your arm cut off, you put on a new one. If your body dies, you just put the stack in a new body, if you have money, which also means that if you are rich, you are immortal. It’s a future where the possibilities if you are rich are endless, but the realities of life if you’re poor are grim.
I play this man who was actually part of the resistance, a resistance against this new world order that now has prevailed. He’s a special type of warrior, and he gets what they call “spun up,” when they take a chip, a stack that’s just been put aside, and they spin it up in a new body. I wake up in a new body, and I don’t recognize myself 500 years into the future. I get this mission where I could either choose to try to solve this case and help this man out, or I can go back into oblivion. It’s a lot, but it’s going to be something special. It’s something that’s never been done before, and I’m a big fan of intelligent sci-fi. To see a sci-fi show that’s a hard R-rated sci-fi show with a big budget, so they’re really going to be able to create this entire world… I just started drooling at that possibility.
Do you think we’ll see it in 2017?
Yeah, maybe. I don’t know when they want to release it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets released in the fall of 2017, somewhere around there. We’ll start shooting it in November, and we’ll be done in early June next year, so maybe, but there are a lot of special effects with a project like this. It could take a little longer.
Where will you film?
Vancouver. I’m going back to The Cou. That’s where I shot The Killing. I know it very well.
Known onscreen for her roles on The Good Wife and One Life to Live, the latter earning her two Daytime Emmy nominations — she'll move on to Altered Carbon, Netflix’s 10-episode sci-fi drama from Skydance Television starring Joel Kinnaman.
Set in the 25th century and based on Richard Morgan's 2002 novel of the same name, the series explores what happens when the human mind becomes digitized and the soul is transferable from one body to another. Kinnaman plays Takeshi Kovacs, an ex-elite interstellar warrior known as an Envoy who has been imprisoned for 500 years and is downloaded into a future he had tried to stop. If he can solve a single murder in a world where technology has made death nearly obsolete, he will get a chance at a new life on Earth.
Goldsberry will play the role of Quellcrist Falconer, a revolutionary and leader of the rebellion against the Protectorate. She is a master strategist, as well as the love of Kovacs' life.
Conner will play Poe, a centuries-old, highly-evolved Artificial Intelligence who is currently inhabiting the psyche of Edgar Allen Poe. He is the proprietor of The Raven, a luxury hotel that caters to the more discerning guest who values the ideals of an older, more civilized age. Essandoh will portray Vernon Elliot, an ex-Protectorate Tactical Marine whose wife was imprisoned and whose daughter was killed. A man with little to live for, save the hope of bringing his family back together. By all accounts, he should be the sworn enemy of Takeshi Kovacs, but their proclivity for violence and family draws them together.
Per Backstage, production begins on November 9, in Vancouver. Sapochnik began prep last month.
Forte will play Alazne Ortega, the soul of the Ortega family. Warm and loving, Alazne refuses to allow her humanity to be subsumed in this high-tech world. She’s a proud Catholic, her faith her shield, despite the loss of her husband and despite the risks her daughter Lt. Kristin Ortega takes while following in his footsteps. Tran is Mister Leung, a violent killer and fixer who finds employment among the ultra-rich Meths of the Altered Carbon world. He solves their convoluted problems, removes their most potent enemies and never, ever leaves behind evidence of his crimes. He is a ghost. You had better hope he does not come for you.
Turns out the opening episode'll be shot by Neville Kidd, who's worked on Outlander, Doctor Who, & won an Emmy for his work on Sherlock. He's also doing (or rather, just did the premiere) for Netflix's Travelers.
And turns out, the series'll be shot on the large scale Arri Alexa 65.
Mann will play O.G. Kovacs, the last of the legendary intergalactic warriors known as Envoys. He is a man who has the killing instinct of a soldier along with the moral center of a freedom fighter. He has the razor sharp mind of a master strategist, combat skills that verge on the superhuman, but when he loses his temper people die.
Turns out Daredevil's DP in S2, Martin Ahlgren's working on this project. Neville Kidd's page also lists it, but I think he had to pull out cause he's with another Netflix sci-fi show, called Travelers.