Netflix subscribers will never know the fear of running out of series and films to watch. Earlier this month, the streaming service giant held a massive media conference called See What’s Next: Asia at Marina Bay Sands over two days (8 – 9 Nov) where its top executives discussed the changing landscape of the viewing experience and teased upcoming shows.
To add some glitz to the event, Netflix invited a slew of guests from its stable of anticipated projects to speak at various panels. They include the cast and creators from series and films such as House of Cards, Narcos: Mexico, Mowgli, The Umbrella Academy and The Kingdom among others.
Geek Crusade was there – here’s some of the highlights of the event.
House of Cards
Screen legend Robin Wright, was the first celebrity guest who came on stage to speak about the evolution of Netflix and her show, House of Cards, which is in an extraordinary place right now.
The series is in its final season and missing its original lead, Kevin Spacey, who played power-hungry congressman turned United States president Frank Underwood. Spacey was written out of the series following disturbing allegations of sexual assault which pushed Wright’s character Claire Underwood to the forefront.
Careful to avoid mentioning the controversy, Wright instead touched on how Netflix is erasing borders as people all over the world are enjoying content regardless of language and where it’s made. “Every country I go to, I’m always shocked and surprised by how many people know House Of Cards in abundance. I guess it’s because the show is really about the art of war, which is how politics works in every country,” she mused.
When asked about her thoughts on the series now that it’s coming to an end with its sixth season, Wright shared: “I feel proud that we accomplished our goal and concluded it the way we intended and close it out for the fans.”
House of Cards season 6 is streaming on Netflix now.
The next celebrity guests brought on stage were Diego Luna and Michael Pena who, together with showrunner Eric Newman, discussed Narcos: Mexico. The fourth season of this gripping drama series about the war on drugs in South America is not a sequel like the previous season but rather shifts the spotlight to the burgeoning drug trade in Mexico where Felix Gallardo (Luna) rose to become the biggest drug trafficker in the region.
Set in the 1980s, his Guadalajara Cartel is a contemporary of Pablo Escobar’s. Pena plays real-life undercover DEA agent Kiki Camarena, who gathers intel on Gallardo from the informants that surround the drug lord.
Just like in previous seasons, Narcos: Mexico continues the tradition of presenting a more complex and nuanced portrait of the drug trade and the people involved. “I think one of the things that work very well about the show is that two people can watch it and have a completely different experience. There’s a more complicated point of view when we consider the depth of the characters,” said Newman.
For Pena, playing a character who was very principled and focused such as Camarena was a nice change of pace from his work on Ant-Man (see our review) where he portrayed Scott Lang’s comical sidekick, Luis. “Luis is the exact opposite… so it was really refreshing to play somebody who very much knew his purpose and who had a single drive.”
Narcos: Mexico premieres on November 16.
The next celebrity guest was a real treat for geeks – Andy Serkis, who has played some of the most iconic characters in fantasy and science fiction franchises such as Gollum from The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Ulysses Klaue from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Serkis directed the latest film adaptation of The Jungle Book entitled Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. It boasts an all-star cast including Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hollander and Freida Pinto.
This is Serkis’ directorial debut and he felt it was important for Netflix to be the platform to share his work: “I want to share it with a global audience… I’ve always thought that this was an international film and that it didn’t just have to succeed in the US box office.”
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle premieres on December 2.
The Umbrella Academy
The Umbrella Academy is based on a comic book series written by Gerard Way (the lead singer of rock band My Chemical Romance) and features a dysfunctional family of superheroes who must try and put their differences aside to solve their father’s mysterious death. Co-stars David Castaneda and Robert Sheehan, who play two of the seven said superheroes, were present to shed more light on the project.
With all the superhero movies and TV series saturating the market, one might wonder if viewers really need yet another. But Sheehan was quick to point out that The Umbrella Academy is not your typical superhero narrative.
“The archetypical superhero film is that they get the girl and save the day but our series explores the necessity of failure. Our characters were made into superheroes as children and grew up into adults that were missing something emotionally. So they grew up traumatised and must come to terms with that,” said Sheehan.
The Umbrella Academy premieres on February 15 2019.
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