Alison Schapker is working in the TV series industry for almost 20 years. As a writer, she has worked on many series such as Charmed, Alias, Fringe and Flash. As a producer, she has worked on TV series such as Lost, Brothers & Sisters, Almost Human and Scandal. She talks to us today about her work on the new season of Altered Carbon.
How did you get involved on Altered Carbon?
I love writing science fiction and genre television, so when the opportunity to join Altered Carbon in Season Two presented itself, it was right up my alley and I jumped at the chance.
What was your feeling to enter this cyberpunk universe?
I was thrilled to enter such a rich, multi-layered and thought-provoking world.
Apart from the book, what are your influences and references for Altered Carbon?
During the writing and filming of Season Two, I was obsessed with a documentary called “Anthropocene: The Human Epoch” which was directed by Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas De Pencier. It was available for viewing on Air Canada and I would watch it every time I flew back and forth from Los Angeles to Vancouver, which is a crime because it really should be seen on a big screen and I made sure to do that, too. It is a very meditative film, and also a very sobering one, and there’s no way to sit through it without contemplating humanity’s impact on our planet and on other species and ultimately, on ourselves. It highlights how the technologies we invent to shape the world, in turn shape us — sometimes for the better, but just as often in ways we don’t foresee or in ways that are extremely dangerous. In that respect, I feel like “Anthropocene” has a lot in common with science fiction and I found it to be very inspiring and generative of ideas that pertained to the work I was doing on Altered Carbon at the time.
What was the biggest challenge with the new season?
To me, the biggest challenge with any show, but especially one of this magnitude, is keeping all the balls in the air and maintaining the collective stamina, excitement and creativity from beginning to end. A season of television is a marathon and not a sprint, but every single step is important. Every detail adds up. Luckily, we had a wildly talented cast and crew who brought their all to set every day. I think their unwavering commitment to the process really paid off and I’m so proud of the work everyone did.
Can you tell us about Anthony Mackie’s choice to play the new version of Takeshi Kovacs?
When I came aboard Altered Carbon, Laeta Kalogridis already had her eye trained on Anthony Mackie for Season 2 Kovacs and I completely concurred that he would be an incredible choice.
How was your collaboration with the directors and actors?
I have a very open door policy when it comes to collaboration and I welcomed input from all our directors and actors. To a person, they are supremely gifted at what they do and their ideas elevated the material at many crucial turns.
Where did you shoot the different sequences, mostly in the city and in the forest?
Season Two of Altered Carbon was shot at our studio in Surrey, BC and on location in and around Vancouver.
What is your best memory of this new season?
I have too many great memories to have a best one, but recently seeing our cast on the red carpet in New York and thinking about how far we’ve all come since our first table read in Vancouver was a moment of real pride.