Fifty Five flights in 45 weeks…
We all thought the first Season of Sense 8 was an adventure, but the second Season knocked that into a Cocked Hat.
Let me explain briefly for those of you who haven’t heard of Sense8, it is a NetFlix Production, directed firstly by Lana and Andy Wachowski and then for Season Two by Lana Wachowski, James McTeigue and Tom Tykwer.
Produced by Grant Hill, Roberto Malerba and Marcus Logus.
Its is a story about a group of eight people around the world who are suddenly linked mentally, and must find a way to survive being hunted by those who see them as a threat.
I teamed up with Hugh Bateup on Season One and the two of us set up eight Art Departments in -­‐ San Francisco, Chicago, London, Reykjavik, Seoul, Mexico City, Mumbai and Berlin.
Hugh and I teamed up again for Season Two, thinking it would be an easier passage as we had already set a ten plate for Art Departments around the world, however as we received the scripts we suddenly realised that the eight Art Departments had grown to fourteen, now covering – Berlin the Winter Shoot, Amsterdam, Chicago, Italy, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Malta, Mexico, Nairobi, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seoul, UK [ London & Scotland ], and the Berlin Summer Shoot.
Any self respecting Production Company, would base them selves in one country, do all the necessary interiors and then travel to the locations for exteriors, perhaps even cheating the odd country to make two or three locations work…..Not Lana Wachowski, she wanted to to do each country as a whole, some times shooting in a location that could have been anywhere in the world, but was in the country it was supposed to be , for the spirit of the story and show. And that’s what made it an amazing adventure.
The only time Hugh and I spent time together, was during the world Scout at the beginning of the show and at the end for the Berlin Summer shoot, most of the time we passed silently, like ships in the night, usually at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.
It soon became apparent, that we needed a little more help this time and although Trish Forman, joined us again and was our travelling co-ordinator we also enlisted the help of Katherina Klugue who was our German based Art Department PA, Dominic Hyman, who supervised the European locations and Damian Drew who looked after Seoul . Meanwhile Hugh and I covered all the different locations at different times, setting up new departments or encouraging old departments from last Season to join us.
One trip I wont be doing again in a hurry is Mumbai to Mexico, the first leg being over sixteen hours in the air and the overall trip being 30 hours, staying for 4 days then travelling back to Mumbai.
So we started on November the 23rd – based , and planning in Berlin, with a prep period of approximately 14 weeks, little did we know at this point we would have a pre-­‐shoot in Berlin over Christmas and New Year, a 3 day shoot in Chicago, then the Berlin Winter Shoot also became a pre-­‐shoot and some how, we shoe horned in the world Scout, ready to shoot in Mumbai around the 1st of March….
So it was, with John Toll [D.O.P.] Michael Salven [1st AD.] Lindsay Pugh [Costume Designer] Alessandro Bertollazi [Make up and Hair] and very many more international travelling crew we set off around the world enlisting the help, in all departments, from the countries we visited.
Do I have stories to tell……yes many,
Hugh Bateup, the rough tough Australian, wearing a feather boa, pink glasses and makeup, so he would blend in on the Sao Paulo Gay Parade float.
Lana Wachowski wanting to recreate the Berlin New Years celebration in March on a 250 meter stretch of road in another part of Berlin…because we could not let our own fireworks off on the 31st of December……
The Car chase in Seoul , that took months to prepare.
The Political Rally and Riot in Nairobi with over 3000 extras…shot in one day ….a very long day….
Being told I was in a Somalian controlled area in Nairobi and that the Foreign Office declared it a No Go Zone – and this was where we were having an elaborate pimped Bus built.
And so the list goes on…I managed to get back to the UK for approximately 4 weeks during the 45 weeks away, Hugh and Trish have only just returned home.
All three of us have more air miles than we know what to do with, Hugh and Trish went on a touring holiday in Spain, before they went home and my wife and I are off to Cornwall at some point.
We all decided to save the air miles for next years holidays !!
Sense 8 Season Two – “The Christmas Special” is out the second week in December on NetFlix – its worth a look.
Peter Walpole.

Peter Walpole 2019

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