The Future is Now with Netflix’s Altered Carbon | Presscon in Seoul, Korea

I can totally hear my friends saying, “How old do you think you are?!” after putting on this pink ensemble for the Netflix press conference in Conrad Hotel, Seoul, Korea. The cast of Altered Carbon wondered the same thing since we were talking about age and immortality. All of them thought that I was still in my early 20’s! But I’ll save that story for later.

Last week, Bea Fabregas and I were flown in by Globe Netflix to cover the press event in Korea. I couldn’t turn down the invite after seeing the trailer and the -17°C weather forecast. I’m sure you’re thinking.. What input can a beauty girl like me give to a cyberpunk sci-fi TV series? A WHOLE LOT — especially since Richard K. Morgan’s novel revolves around immortality and staying beautiful forever. I’m also a huge TV series junkie so I’ve finished all the episodes of Narcos, Stranger Things, The End of The F***cking World, Dynasty, 13 Reasons Why, Designated Survivor and Riverdale to name a few. I’ve also just started watching Mindhunter and Grace & Frankie this week. It helps me wind down after a long day of work.

If you’ve ever wondered what a cross between Blade Runner 2049 (2017), The Matrix (1999) and the dystopian world of Final Fantasy would be like, look no further. Altered Carbon is a story about love, murder, sex and betrayal set in the distant future. Death is NOT inevitable because our subconsciousness can be uploaded into bodies that are now called “sleeves”. These are preserved through the technology of Psychasec (photo above) but only the elite and privileged few known as “Meths” are able to afford it. That’s where the show centers on — the murder of Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy – my favorite serial killer in The Following) the wealthiest man on earth. He then asks for former envoy and rebel Takeshi Kovacs who has been “asleep” for 250 years to be re-sleeved so he can solve the mystery behind his murder or if he had committed suicide.

I kid you not — I was able to binge watch the entire season in just 2 days! The show starts out a bit slow and then suddenly bombards you with so many twisted facts from the past of Takeshi Kovacs. I told myself that I’d finish around 3 episodes only and wait for it to be released online on February 2 but my lack of self-control led me straight to Episode 10! There’s so much more than just figuring out who killed Laurence Bancroft.

One of the iconic scenes of this show is Joel Kinnaman (present Takeshi Kovacs) being retrieved and revived in this body bag. Kovacs was horrified to see his new face because he was originally Japanese, played by Will Yun Lee. Joel revealed during the press conference that he was naked for the first two days of filming. The entire cast has such amazing physiques! And yes, I’ve seen EVERYONE naked. The amount of nudity and sex in Altered Carbon might make it awkward to watch on a big screen when you’re in public. I like to download Netflix shows to watch offline while in the plane but I think I’ll stick to watching this at home without judgmental eyes and minors around.

I got this really cool USB souvenir from the event. Most of those who haven’t watched it might just dismiss it as some alien looking item but it’s called a “stack”. This is where your subconsciousness and your entire being is downloaded to and as long as it is undamaged and intact, can be inserted to a new sleeve/ body. But if your stack is destroyed, you die and there’s no coming back from real death. There’s a lot of dark humor in the show like having a 7 year old girl’s stack uploaded into an old woman’s body and the parents can’t do anything because it’s the only sleeve available in inventory and they can’t afford an upgrade.

(L-R) Laeta Kalogridis, Joel Kinnaman, Martha Higadera, Dichen Lachman

The show is created by Laeta Kalogridis who also turned the novel Shutter island into a box-office hit so I’m pretty sure Netflix has high expectations for the ratings of Altered Carbon. She shared how passionate everyone was in the making of this series — from the set designers to the costume department and the entire cast. A lot of physical training was needed in order for them to do some of the fight sequences. Joel took up a bit of Taekwondo, Martha’s love for dancing helped and Dichen had sword training.

Before they wrapped up the press conference, they were asked to partake in the Korean tradition called ‘Doljanchi‘. It’s where a couple of items are displayed in front of a toddler and the first item he or she grabs will symbolize the future.

They were all smiles because the items they got symbolized long success, wealth, beauty and they hope that it’s the same for Altered Carbon.

Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs – an envoy and former rebel, reanimated to solve the murder of the wealthiest man in the universe.
Martha Higadera as Lt. Kristin Ortega – a woman who is mysteriously attached to Takeshi Kovacs
Dichen Lachman as Reileen Kawahara – Takeshi Kovacs’ long lost sister

So now let’s talk about the highlight of my trip (and possibly 2018) — my first time to experience interviewing international celebrities!! I was so stoked to meet the cast because I also watch House of Cards where Joel Kinnaman plays Governor Will Conway. But after watching all 10 episodes of Altered Carbon, I grew fond of the female characters too especially Martha’s bad ass Lieutenant Ortega. I can’t really discuss why without giving away too much so watch the show once it’s out to know what I mean. I’m also a huge fan of James Purefoy because of The Following so I was a bit sad that he couldn’t make it to the press conference in Seoul.

I honestly thought that being in the blogging & PR industry and rubbing elbows with (local) celebrities for almost 10 years was enough training for a day like this but I was soooo freaking nervous. I was LITERALLY sweating inside before I met them thanks to several layers of heattech and my furry top. I was the first one to enter the room so I couldn’t get pointers from anyone else. But after they welcomed me into the studio, my anxiousness was cut into half because they were all so nice and friendly. Joel even volunteered to take this photo because, I quote, “I have a built in selfie stick!” Lol! We had a quick chat before the cameras started rolling and their jaws dropped when I said I finished the entire series. I think I was the only one who did prior to the presscon. They were sincerely interested in knowing what I thought about the show and I could see how happy and relieved they were when I said that I liked it. How else would I finish all episodes in 2 days if it wasn’t good, right?!

We talked a lot about how the future would be like if Altered Carbon were to become reality; would immortality be good for us or would it be the cause of destruction? I’ll be uploading my video interview with them next week so don’t forget to visit my blog!

I look like a little kid beside them which actually led Martha to ask for my age. They all agreed that I was around 21 to 24 years old only but in fact, I turned 30 four months ago! They were all so shocked and asked for some beauty tips. I told them to hoard eye patches/ masks while they’re in Seoul because it’s usually our eyes that give away our age. Aside from living forever, the Meths/ elite of Altered Carbon was also obsessed with looking young and beautiful and they would pay any price for an upgraded sleeve. I’m good with this life and skin care is enough for me to stay young. No need for a new sleeve! However, immortality does sound tempting.

Netflix flew in several influencers from all around the world so I was able to make new friends. We celebrated with some good food, beer & soju after the nerve-racking interview. I thought that it was just me but everyone felt the same. We all arrived in Korea without knowing we’d be filmed in a quiet room with a huge studio setup and lights enough to melt your makeup but I’m glad everything went well.

I made everyone do the Korean finger heart trend again before we ended the night!

Altered Carbon Season 1 is coming to Netflix on February 2 so don’t forget to subscribe or log in to your account so you too can binge watch the series this weekend!

You can enjoy up to 6 months of FREE Netflix with your Globe Postpaid plan. Simply go to https://netflix.globe.com.ph/ to verify your number and find out if you’re qualified!