Holding Out Hope for a Better World: Snowpiercer Creator and Cast Members Share Their Thoughts

at .

In production since September of 2017 with all episodes in the can since January of 2019, the premiere season of TNT's Snowpiercer has had a hard and chaotic birth.

With changes in showrunners and networks and even a reshoot of the pilot, the key to surviving has been adaptability.

And that's a theme many of the main players mentioned when speaking to the press at the New York City Comic-Con in October 2019.

Melanie Cavill - Snowpiercer

Leaning heavily on Bong Joon-Ho's 2013 film of the same name, which itself was based on the 1982 French graphic novel La Transperceneige, Snowpiercer is a post-apocalyptic adventure set in an uncomfortably near future.

It tells the story of a 1,001-car-long luxury train-turned-ark-of-humanity that travels around the world seven years after an attempt to correct global warming has catastrophic consequences, turning the planet into one of perpetual winter.

The people on the train are "balanced" along the length and divided into specific classes by an imposed Order.

That order puts the First Class passengers at the head of the train and stowaways and the ilk left to survive at the tail end. It's a situation ripe for revolution.

At NYCC, showrunner Graeme Manson and Sheila Vand (who plays the up-train-ly mobile Farah Ferami) answered questions on the issues of climate change and class warfare.

Manson thoughtfully commented that many current-day forms of discrimination are melded into the overarching class system of the train.

The first season is focused on a murder investigation.

While Manson points out that the graphic novel, film, and TV series are very different in how they represent the train and its passengers, they are still complementary in building this post-apocalyptic vision.

Andre & Zarah - Snowpiercer

Vand's character is one of the few on the train that manages to move classes.

She does that starting as a stowaway in the tail and moving up to work in the Night Ca.

There will be more on that later.

Her mobility is not something that bodes well for the Order as a class system really depends on everyone staying in their place.

The train carries ticket-holding passengers, many who were extremely wealthy before the planet turned into a ball of ice.

It also carries employees responsible for ensuring the comfort and safety of all those aboard.

Two of those staff members are played by Alison Wright and Mickey Sumner.

Wright plays Ruth Wardle, a high-ranking member of the Hospitality Team.

Ruth Wardle - Snowpiercer

Ruth who is quite happy with her life aboard Snowpiercer as it is a marked improvement from her life before.

Meanwhile, Sumner, as Bess Till, is part of the security staff and embroiled in the murder investigation.

Sumner's role involved many physical fight scenes and a lot of stunt work.

As one can imagine, fighting in the confines of a moving train meant a lot of brutal but strategic fight choreography.

Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs play the central characters, Melanie Cavill and Andre Layton, respectively.

Connelly's Cavill is the Head of Hospitality, which, honestly, sounds a lot nicer than it plays out, and press materials indicate she lives (in First Class, of course) with a lot of secrets.

Conversely, Diggs plays Layton, the last surviving homicide detective ON EARTH.

So when there's a murder, he gets called up for duty. Never mind that he's a drug addict imprisoned at the tail end of the train.

When asked about her approach to playing characters in fantastical situations, Connelly answered that every role is about being true to the characters' decisions, that context is secondary. 

Andre Layton - Snowpiercer

Both Connelly and Diggs commented on the evolution of their characters as the scripts for subsequent episodes arrived.

Furthermore, the non-linear filming of scenes made for a mind-bending way to immerse oneself in character.

Echoing Sumner's remarks from the previous session, Diggs spends much of the season fighting dirty in tight spaces. So much so that he quite genuinely hopes that Layton can land a desk job for Season 2.

As Tills and Layton are partnered up for the Season 1 investigation, one would hope they're fighting at each others' backs versus each other.

The most tantalizing bit of information released about Snowpiercer was the existence of the Night Car, an entertainment/brothel space ruled by Lena Hall's Miss Audrey.

As a natural empath, Miss Audrey's specialty is finding out how to help patrons feel better.

In transitioning from a brothel-runner to the train's de facto counselor, she finds innovative ways for passengers to heal.

From The Walking Dead to Westworld to Snowpiercer, Steven Ogg is no stranger to violent and desperate storylines.

As Pike on Snowpiercer, he leads a gang in the tail end of the train and has a beef with Layton.

Miss Audrey & Cavill - Snowpiercer

At NYCC, Ogg and Hall led a spirited discussion about the nature of the series being in constant growth and expansion.

With a car devoted to "entertainment" and a train full of Broadway-experienced talent (Hall won a Tony for Hedwig and the Angry Inch while Diggs was in the first cast of Hamilton), could we see a musical episode?

Snowpiercer has already been renewed for Season 2, and production was scheduled to wrap in March before the COVID-19 pandemic forced its shutdown.

Snowpiercer Season 1 premieres on May 17th on TNT.

Keep an eye on TV Fanatic as we review every episode for you!

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

Show Comments
Tags: ,

Snowpiercer Quotes

Resistance is never futile but Wilford's train is a fortress to class. Maybe it is perpetual.

Old Ivan

Pike: You know what I think, Layton? I don't think you got the guts to stand with us.
Layton: Pike, you can question my plan if you want. You question my fight and we got a serious problem.