See was one of the strong bets of the launch of Apple TV +. This creation of Steven Knight, the mastermind behind Peaky Blinders, had the unprecedented budget of 15 million dollars for each chapter of the first season, released in 2019, and it must be said that the money was seen in every post-apocalyptic scenario that paraded across the screen. The leading roles fell to Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, a broad-spectrum actress whose filmography ranges from independent filmmakers’ heroes John Sayles to Black Panther.
Action in See takes place in a bucolic but strange world, in a dystopian future in which humanity regressed until something that looks like the Bronze Age. Perhaps the plan was to capture the audience of Games of Thrones, which concluded shortly before the launch of See, with Momoa replicating, in his character of Baba Voss, the role of invincible barbarian although with a difference: in this world everyone is blind. Since the series premiered in the shadow of A place of silence, critics dismissed it as another of those subaltern fictions that tried to replicate the event of John Krasinski’s film by appealing to a story centered on the obstruction of one of the five senses.
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Apple TV +, however, automatically renewed it for a second season that arrives two years later, anabolized, to put it in some way, by Dave Bautista, who plays Edo Voss, the brother and at the same time antagonist of the character Momoa, for what which certainly has the rol physics. Woodard takes up her role as Paris, both a midwife and shaman of her tribe, who is in charge of educating the protagonist’s children, both with the ability and, at the same time, the disability to see, who will inherit and must transform this broken world. Owner of a slow and thoughtful style, Woodard spoke with THE NATION about the second season of this series.
-There are several innovations in this season, the most important is possibly the incorporation of Dave Bautista. How could you describe where the story is going?
-Dave Bautista is Edo, the brother of the character played by Jason Momoa, Baba Voss. Baba is a formidable warrior so he needed an antagonist who was equally formidable. These two brothers are going to face each other as a consequence of an old rivalry that dates back to their childhood, and this rivalry creates a dynamic that takes the second season to a place where the series had not been before. Paris, my character, has a new role in that she must ensure that the seer twins in her care are not only still alive, but are actually the origin of a new era for this world. This time the focus is on family relationships, because in the family is where we learn to love, but also to fight. And it is the place that can create the greatest wounds of our life.
-You said that you especially like the roles in which you have the opportunity to learn something. What did you learn in this series, after playing a blind woman?
-I learned to move in a different way in the world. I learned a new language about how to navigate physical space without seeing, something that made me pay much more attention to my other senses. I also learned to be in front of another person without having them under my gaze all the time. He might be present to her in another, equally specific way. And finally, I learned to use my ears to locate things and to move safely without colliding with my surroundings. There are ways of touching objects so as not to hurt oneself until one can identify exactly what they are that I, as a sighted person, did not know. It was a very revealing process.
-You worked with a special consultant to credibly build your character’s blindness. What did the work consist of?
-Joe Strechay is one of our executive producers and consultant on issues related to blindness. He is an adorable person, very funny and above all very patient. We have the arrogance to say “such a person is blind” as if that implies that he is not as present in the world as we are. What we learned from Joe was that since in the world we created there were almost no people with the ability to see for 400 years, the few sighted people are marginal, and that gives a different idea of what disability means. Also, as tribal people living in a dystopian future that looks like it’s 3000 years ago, we had to develop specific customs and customs and Joe helped us with that.
-The series received some criticism in the sense that it presented blindness as what made civilization regress for thousands of years and, consequently, seemed to stigmatize disability …
-I think that’s a wrong reading. What produced the involution in our history is that the sighted population was focused on only taking for granted what their eyes showed them, instead of waiting to know who the person, the group or the nation in front of them really was. And it was we, the seers, who destroyed that world. At the same time, that was the end of greed, of corruption, of people who live as if what they do on this planet does not affect anyone else. We live with these same problems today. If this moment in our real history teaches us anything, it is that we are all connected. In the series, a virus ends the world population and there are only two million people left who can no longer see, but since the human race remains the same, disputes arise over territory, for power. So blindness is not the problem. I do not agree at all with these criticisms, which are welcome because I love the exchange of ideas, but I think they are wrong.
-Show creator Steven Knight, also author of Peaky Blinders, is no longer part of the creative team. There is a new main writer and showrunner, Jonathan Tropper. What was his departure due to?
-That’s what creative people do. We move all the time! Steven created the world of the show and went on to write something else. This season we have a new showrunner who brought a new energy and another point of view. And that creatively enriches the series. But Steven did not leave, he is still one of the producers of the show.
-The series is a political allegory that talks about power, about the environment … Can it be said that it also refers to invisibility in our society, to those who are seen and who do not obtain visibility?
-According to where the viewer is standing in his convictions of the world, he will be able to find in this story much that supports or questions his place or his privileges. I believe that each reading depends on what each one contributes from their own experience to the interpretation of the program. When trying to make a series that aims to talk about universal themes, all kinds of limits are crossed and everyone can get something different from what they see.
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Alfre Woodard teases the keys to the second season of See