Netflix’s new sci-fi epic Altered Carbon is a lot of things: futuristic noir, action romp, literally star-crossed love story, the list goes on. But, when you really drill down to the core of the series, it’s the kind of show that starts discussions. I legitimately cannot count the number of conversations I’ve had about how the 10-episode thriller treats sex, violence, and nudity. Even when you’re not sure exactly where you come down on those topics and the Netflix adventure, hey, at least you’re really thinking.
A lot of these tough mental gymnastics are owed to the wonderfully complicated, powerful, and unstoppable women of Carbon. Yes, super soldier envoy Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) is our way into the winding world of 2300s Bay City, formerly known as San Francisco, but it’s the women around him — and the one haunting his memories — who dominate the screen. They kick, fly through glass walls, and crash floating altars to sex crimes with abandon, driving the story forward with every frame.
That’s why, in an exclusive featurette, the actresses who brought Carbon’s many badass ladies to life detail precisely how important their butt-kicking roles are. While you watch all the series’ high adrenaline moments whizz by along with real-life confessional interviews in the clip, it becomes obvious just how many women of color inhabit the science-fiction saga. There’s everyone from Mexican actress Martha Higareda, who plays headstrong detective Kristin Ortega, and biracial star Dichen Lachman, a.k.a. the cunning Reileen Kawahara, to Black actress Renée Elise Goldsberry, who shatters the mold as warrior queen Quellcrist Falconer.
Speaking of Goldsberry, the Hamilton alum shares some food for thought in the video that could practically serve as a mission statement for Carbon, which was created by a woman, Shutter Island screenplay scribe Laeta Kalogridis. “I think some people mistake science-fiction for a man’s genre,” Goldsberry says in a talking head interview, still wearing her envoy costume. “I 100% disagree.”
Watch the full video below to find out all the inspirational bon mots the Carbon women had to share when they weren’t kicking ass and taking names in front of the camera.
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