Sense8 co-creator J. Michael Straczynski on the logistics of filming a global story


Despite getting some mixed reviews on its release, the new Netflix series Sense8 is really fascinating.

It centers on a group of eight strangers who live all across the world and one day develop the ability to psychically communicate with one another. In practice that means they can astral project into each other's worlds, so that a businesswoman/kickboxing champ in South Korea can help a bus driver in Kenya win a fight. It's slow and character-based, but full of interesting ideas and great globe-hopping setpieces. Unfortunately, the pilot is probably the weakest episode of the series, but after that things really start to click into place and the show only gets better as it goes along. You can check out the trailer right here:

In this interview with HitFix, co-creator J. Michael Straczynski talks about developing the show with The Matrix's Andy and Lana Wachowski, as well as the complicated logistics involved in plotting an international genre series:

Any time you do something that is truly unique and hasn't been done before you've got the potential for huge headaches simply because the story's not just happening simultaneously. And you have to know if Character A is over here doing this and they look with Character B, where is that character? What was that person's story. Usually you have characters in a room talking and they're both in that room at that time. But, you know we can have Sun out in a park somewhere and Nomi in her apartment. So if Sun's in a park, what's she doing there? Nomi's at home, what's she doing there? And in the middle of this whole massive logistical process I looked at the boards when we were in Chicago laying out all the story, we had and the characters going vertically and events going horizontally on these huge boards we brought in. And we're like, "Oh crap." Then I looked up and went, "Time zones." We also had to compensate for time zones. So Nomi in San Francisco could be in a bad position and need help from Capheus, but it's two in the morning in Nairobi. He's asleep! So we then had to lay out all the time zones and all the characters were at different times of day and night. So again what's cool is that then you will see Sun in daytime having a conversation with Capheus and it's nighttime. It's the same conversation but you're cutting back from day to night rather than at the same time. So it became this spreadsheet of complications. But that was part of the fun of it. It wasn't a nightmare, it was the fun of it because you don't get points for doing what's easy.

Read the full interview over on HitFix and check out Sense8 on Netflix.