Entertainment

Everything We Know About TNT's 'Snowpiercer'

snowpiercer, melanie cavill, jennifer connelly
WarnerMedia

Not quite sure why there's going to be a United States television adaptation of Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho's 2013 Snowpiercer? Us either, but it's happening anyways! The series, which is set to air on TNT in May 2020, is based primarily off of Bong's adaptation of the 1982 French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette. The TV series shares the same premise as both Bong's film and the graphic novel: an attempt to quell the climate crisis backfires, instead freezing over the Earth and turning it into an uninhabitable wasteland. All that's presumably left of humanity is contained on the Snowpiercer, a 1,001-car-long train that segregates its occupants based on class, with the wealthy at the front of the train and the poor crammed in towards the tail. 

After years spent in development hell over at TNT, a flurry of showrunner and director changes, and a plan to switch the series over to air on TBS (that was eventually reverted), the series is finally set to hit screens on TNT in 2020. Until then, here's everything we know about Snowpiercer

When does Snowpiercer premiere?

A few months ago, WarnerMedia confirmed that the first episode of Snowpiercer would premiere on TNT on May 31, 2020, at 9 p.m. A couple of weeks ago, the company announced that the show, along with a bunch of others that had either been in the middle of filming or were about to start, would halt production of its second season given the state of the global coronavirus pandemic. Regardless, we can still expect to see the first season on our TV screens right on schedule. You know, like a train. 

Is there a trailer for Snowpiercer?

Yes! The first came out of the 2019 San Diego Comic Con, giving us our first real look at Daveed Diggs, Jennifer Connelly, and the rest of their cast as trouble begins to brew on the "perfectly balanced" (read: heavily divided) train.

The crew also released a (mostly) animated teaser during the 2019 New York Comic Con that sets up the premise for Snowpiercer, telling the story of the climate change deniers that eventually pushed humanity to extreme solutions, resulting in the botched experiment that froze the Earth over. 

Who's in the cast?

Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) leads the cast as Andre Layton, a prisoner and former detective who gets called to the front of the train to help solve a case. Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) co-stars as Melanie Cavill, the "voice of the train" and head of hospitality. Mickey Sumner (Frances Ha) plays Bess Till, a brakemen on the train and part of the security force. Alison Wright (The Americans) plays Ruth, a woman who works in the hospitality department. Susan Park (Fargo) plays Jinju, the head chef at the finest restaurant on the train. Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) plays Miss Audrey, the "madam of the night car." Child actor Jaylin Fletcher (The Female Brain) plays Miles, a bright kid from the back of the train who has the potential to move forward should be get a coveted apprenticeship. Sam Otto (The State) plays brakeman John Osweiler. Iddo Goldberg (Peaky Blinders) plays Bennett, an engineer on the train. Rowan Blanchard (Girl Meets World) will play Alexandra, a teenager with mysterious connections to the history of Snowpiercer. According to Deadline, she's set to become a regular in Season 2. 

The recurring cast includes Timothy V. Murphy (Sons of Anarchy), Happy Anderson (Bright), and Jonathan Lloyd Walker (Van Helsing). Murphy plays Commander Grey, a former Special Forces, British SAS who loves combat and keeping things in order. Anderson plays Klimpt, a researcher-cum-doctor who oversees "those unfortunate enough to be sentenced to the coffin-like Drawers." Walker is Big John, a passenger from the back of the train who is forced into slave-like labor. Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing) also joins the cast as Bojan Boscovic, a Breachworker on the train who's used to the cold and hazards of his job. Shaun Toub (Homeland) plays Terence, the charismatic leader of the train's Black Market. Kerry O'Malley (Those Who Kill) will play Lilah Folger, a former corporate lawyer invested in protecting her fellow first class passengers and daughter LJ, played by Annalise Basso (Captain Fantastic). Aaron Glenane (Picnic at Hanging Rock) will play "The Last Australian," a tail passenger from Perth who is driven to survive by the fact that he is, presumably, the last Australian. Fiona Vroom (Altered Carbon) plays Miss Gillies, an encouraging school teacher. Steven Ogg (The Walking Dead) plays Pike, a Tailie gang leader and Layton's rival. While his role is recurring in the first season, he'll feature as a series regular in Season 2. 

Also joining the cast are Benjamin Haigh, Sasha Frolova, Katie McGuinness, Roberto Urbina, Sheila Vand, among others.

daveed diggs, jaylin fletcher, snowpiercer, tnt
Daveed Diggs and Jaylin Fletcher in 'Snowpiercer.' | WarnerMedia

Who's involved on the creative side?

Graeme Manson (Orphan Black) serves as the series' current showrunner, having taken over for previous showrunner Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) January 2018 (Deadline reported that Friedman left the project due to creative differences, but Friedman stated that it was due to the network not having faith in his compliance). After Friedman's departure, pilot director Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange) also left the project over Manson's proposed "extreme reshoots" of the pilot. James Hawes (Black Mirror's "Hated in the Nation" and "Smithereens") took over the pilot reshoots.

Luckily, a significant chunk of the creative team from the film adaptation of Snowpiercer are on board with the TV project. That includes the film's director Bong Joon-ho, whose film Parasite took home the Academy Award for Best Picture at this year's Oscars ceremony, who is serving as an executive producer. He's joined by fellow Snowpiercer (2013) producers Miky Lee, Tae-sung Jeong, Park Chan-wook, Lee Tae-hun, and Dooho Choi. Also executive producing are Tomorrow Studios' Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements; showrunner Graeme Manson; Scott Derrickson (on the series' pilot only); director James Hawes, and Matthew O'Connor. The series is produced by Tomorrow Studios and CJ Entertainment, who produced the original film. 

What's the plot of Snowpiercer?

The setup for the TV show is functionally the same as both Bong's Snowpiercer and the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige: after neglect allows the climate crisis to reach apocalyptic heights, scientists attempt to cool down the Earth in a last-ditch effort that actually ends up turning it into an inhospitable frozen wasteland. Humanity's last bastion is the Snowpiercer, a train with 1,001 cars that houses thousands of those who were wealthy enough to buy a ticket or lucky enough to survive making it aboard. 

Taking place seven years into the train's journey, Snowpiercer picks up at the advent of a brewing revolution from the "Tailies," or those who are crammed into the back of the train while those towards the front live in lavish conditions. Jennifer Connelly's Melanie Cavill keeps the train in top shape, maintaining order. Daveed Diggs' Andre Layton gets a glimpse at life in the forward cars after being called to assist with a murder case. Eventually, conflict ensues, implicating the lives of the train's 3,000 passengers. 

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