- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
On Tuesday evening, the cast and crew of the Amazon Prime Video series gathered at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the show’s premiere.
“Jonah Nolan and Lisa Joy are two heavy hitters in sci-fi,” star Chloë Grace Moretz told The Hollywood Reporter on the carpet. “When you add [writer] William Gibson, on top of that, who is one of the godfathers of sci-fi, it was too good to be true.”
“One wonderful thing about Jonah and Lisa is that they know how to take sci-fi, and kind of boil it down in a way where it’s expansive, but also understandable,” she continued. “I think in this show, there’s such a warmth to it. There’s such a familial element to it that no matter how far and deep you get into the craziness of the sci-fi world, you kind of always come back and you know who to trust and you know who you’re supposed to be behind.”
Based on William Gibson’s 2014 novel of the same name, The Peripheral takes place in the rural American South of the not-so-distant future, following Flynne Fisher (Moretz), who discovers a secret connection to a virtual reality set in futuristic London that she soon realizes isn’t virtual at all — it’s real. What ensues is a dangerous journey for Flynne, as she searches to discover how to protect her own world from the menacing forces at play in this London from the future.
Known for being one of the early pioneers of the literary cyberpunk genre, Gibson made waves with his debut 1984 novel Neuromancer, in which he coined the term “cyberspace.”
“I think Gibson’s very knowing, maybe a little too knowing, in terms of what’s going on or where we’re headed,” said Nolan. “I grew up reading his books and they’re just extraordinary. Very few authors have the ability to write, from page one, a world realized and fully imagined. In the last 20 years, filmmakers, screenwriters and television producers have been going to Gibson’s work liberally for their own material. I think this is an extraordinary story that is simultaneously close to home, and also a profound look deep into the future.”
The brother of acclaimed director Christopher Nolan, the Westworld creator is also known for his screenwriting on The Prestige, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar. Joy — a former lawyer and Harvard Law graduate — made her feature film directorial debut just last year with the Hugh Jackman-starring Reminiscence.
“I just respond to things that kind of reach out and grab me by the heart and the mind,” said Joy on tackling another sci-fi project after the massive success of HBO’s Emmy-winning Westworld. “To think about anything beyond that is so scary and so intimidating, I don’t think I’d venture out of the house.”
She added, “The source material is so amazing, and it deals with a world that is going through an uncertain time, right? William Gibson, the brilliant futurist that he is, foresees all sorts of things that have become so resonant now. Reading it at that time, what the book gave me was a lot of hope. The idea that even when there are these sort of insurmountable seeming odds, there’s this family of regular people that band together and fight for the right thing, which is kind of what I needed to read at that time.”
And while The Peripheral leans heavily into its sci-fi roots, the cast emphasizes the story’s human relationships, above all.
“I think this show has a familial foundation that I don’t think a lot of other sci-fi shows have,” said cast member Alexandra Billings. “Or if they have it, they don’t go into the center. This show goes into the center — brother and sister and parent and child and lover to lover — these relationships are extraordinary.”
Playing a trans character in Detective Ainsley Lowbeer, Billings hopes that the show sparks conversations — good or bad — about queer identity among viewers.
“I really hope that people have conversations about the queerness of the show, the fact that there’s a trans character in it,” Billings said. “Even if it bothers you, even if it’s upsetting, triggering in some kind of way, any kind of conversation. I know how this is gonna sound, but even if it’s misinformation, in the center of that is the beginning of information, somewhere in the middle of that mess, you’ll be able to find some truth. So, I just hope people talk.”
The Peripheral premiers on Prime Video on Oct. 21.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day