For those readers who have not finished “Altered Carbon”, the various production artwork descriptions in the following article will contain spoilers.
Upon arriving at the Skydance Studios, the press was ushered into a room which was decorated wall-to-wall with production design floor plans, renderings, and artwork. Each row of concepts and architectural elevations showed off the drastically changing environments between the world of the street dwellers and the heavenly homes of the godlike Meths.
The Bay Street set art has obvious inspirations from Blade Runner. The street is dark, littered with garbage and mobile vendor stands. High above the foot traffic, flying vehicles go about shuttling their occupants to destinations unknown. Advertisements of neon lettering for noodle eateries cut through the smog and a towering hologram of Jimi Hendrix slays his guitar while pedestrians pass by below. The slummy shadow cast across Bay Street also flows into the images of the Happy Face Motel. The rundown establishment tries to be uplifting with various versions of the smiley face littering the motel’s walls but to no avail.
Juxtaposed by these displays are renderings of the Suntouch House, a set comprised of Renaissance architecture fused with Art Deco stylings. As pictures were not allowed during this visit to Skydance, the best way to describe this would be to play through Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and take in the mix of technology and the old world.
From old world to a relatively new one, the Raven Hotel takes its influences from early 1900s New York hotels. Dark, grand and filled with homages to the tessellation works M.C. Escher. Black and red are the prevalent colors adorning the concepts for The Raven. Chairs of red leather sit hugging their dark wood tables in the bar area and what looks to be red velvet drapes the walls. Some twenty to thirty feet above hang large golden and glass studded chandeliers.
Not all is urban squalor, however, as a smattering of concepts shows an underground cave which appears to glow with a bluish tint and comes labeled as “Stronghold Central Cavern – Traning Redoubt.” Nature’s splendor also makes another appearance in neighboring images of Canadian wilderness that double as the “Burning Forest” set and a shoreline which will feature a love scene between the characters of Kovacs and Quell.
The remaining major design artwork shows off the heavenly home of the Meths known as Head in the Clouds. Reileen’s stateroom is sleek, medical, a lot like newer Star Trek films with white curved walls, glossy floors and ceilings colored in dark blue. Headless and legless mannequins stand about her room sporting various high-end clothing.
A few miscellaneous bits of the production design were pinned amongst the larger pieces. Two of these were of vehicles: a two-person shuttle subtitled (Harlan’s World) and a police hovercar. The vehicle stood out as it definitely had a Spinner in its ancestor, while the shuttle had a boxy body similar to the taxis that can be seen in Stallone’s Judge Dredd. Among some other nondescript location, photos are a couple rundown industrial park location shots that were labeled as a “Yakuza warehouse.”
All along another wall were elevation drawings of the physical Bay Street set, rendered via drafting software. On the board of each elevation were lists of scenes that would take place on each side of the set. For those wanting to know if certain characters make the jump from book to screen, here is a list of those who will be walking Bay Street: Flachette, Kovacs, Ortega, Elliot, Dimi, Ganger, Poe, Alazne, Sandy Kim, Mickey, Prescott, Reileen, and Mary Lou. Among these names, a prop is also listed: the Sunjet Gun.
Check back tomorrow for the next part in our series on the “Altered Carbon” set visit.
“Altered Carbon” is set in a dystopian 25th century where the wealthy elite are granted eternal life via downloading their digital souls into clones. Having an unending existence is not without its problems as one such modern Methuselah must rely on a resurrected nemesis to help solve his mysterious death.