In Spain, Netflix has just released the adaptation of the movie of the same name from the director of “Parasites”
Before making Oscar history with “Parasites”, Korean director Bong Joon-ho had already tackled class struggle albeit the science fiction version thereof, in “Snowpiercer” (2013), a film about the aftermath of climate disaster in which the remnants of humanity inhabit a perpetually-moving train. This claustrophobic adventure, based in turn on the graphic novel “Le Transperceneige”, reaches our television screens transformed into a thriller starring Daveed Diggs, Jennifer Connelly and Alison Wright, among others. Viewers in Spain can now enjoy “Snowpiercer” on Netflix.
Both the film and the series share the same apocalyptic and futuristic starting point: our planet becomes a frozen desert due to climate change. The last humans, some travelling in first-class while others as stowaways, climb onto this Noah’s Ark on rails ruled by the visionary Mr. Wilford, in which the wealthy occupy the carriages up front, surrounded by luxury, while the poor practically starve to death in the tail end of the train. Fed up with being treated worse than animals, they set about planning their grand revolution.
But the drama in “Snowpiercer” doesn’t stop there, and in addition to the struggle for equal opportunities, also features a murder that will have to be investigated by ex-detective Andre Layton, played here by musician and actor Daveed Diggs, who is not quite as charismatic “refugee” leader as Chris Evans, star of the film of the same name. From this point onwards, the series takes on the airs of an engaging and entertaining thriller but rather tends to distract the viewer from that spirit of resistance and rebellion the movie exploited with such originality.
The best thing about the serial journey of “Snowpiercer” is that it allows audiences to better understand the survivors’ backgrounds; their fears, traumas, hopes, and their emotional ups and downs. The additional footage available to television dramas allows us to discover in greater depth every nook and cranny of this existence abord the train, which has absolutely everything one could imagine, bar humanity. On the big screen, the identity of Mr. Wilford is kept from us until the very end, while in this adaptation the cat’s out of the bag before the credits are rolling on episode one, complete with the surprise of discovering that Mr. Wilford is actually a woman.
A rough ride
And if you think life aboard the train is an impossible balance, the production of “Snowpiercer” itself was no plain sailing either. Under executive production by Bong Joon-ho, production company Tomorrow Studios signed screenwriter Josh Friedman (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) and director Scott Derrickson (“Doctor Strange”) in 2016. However, after recording the pilot in 2018, Friedman left the series citing “creative differences” with the network (TNT), and Graeme Manson (“Orphan Black”) stepped into the role as showrunner. The change also sparked the resignation of the director, who was replaced by James Hawes
Despite complications to launch the series, “Snowpiercer” was filming its second season before the pandemic. In addition, it’s rumor has it that they’ve signed actor Sean Bean (“Game of Thrones”).
And, coming soon, “Parasites”
Bong Joon-ho is also working with Adam McKay, the creator of the brilliant “Succession”, on the television adaptation of “Parasites”. The Oscar-winning film will be turned into a six-episode miniseries that can be seen on HBO. Tilda Swinton will play an important role, and they are also negotiating the incorporation of Mark Ruffalo.