A highly anticipated TV series that is partly shot in Nairobi is set to start showing on subscription video-on-demand service Netflix on June 5th. The first 12 episodes of Sense8 were shot in eight cities including Nairobi, Chicago, Berlin, Mexico City and Mumbai. The trailer of the sci-fi drama created and co-directed by The Matrix trilogy creators Andy and Lana Wachowski has already garnered 3.4 million views on YouTube.
The Nairobi scenes of Sense8 were shot in September 2014 bringing together 8 Kenyan actors, over 700 extras and 200 cars in a fast-paced, action-packed futuristic TV series that is expected to boost Kenya’s position as an attractive location for Hollywood producers.
According to People Daily, the crew and cast of Sense8 had exclusive access to the locations selected by the directors including Globe roundabout, Machakos Country bus station, KICC rooftop, Railways warehouse, Kibera and California estates.
Co-creator J. Michael Straczynski said they pitched a 5-season series to Netflix execs who not only offered to buy the first 12-episode season but provided financing to shoot Sense8, within hours of pitching.
“We pitched it as a five-year story. We’ve mapped out five seasons of this thing, our actor deals are being made for five seasons, five or six depending on the breaks. So we imagined this over the long, long haul. The first season is the origin story for our characters and then we kind of go from there,” said Straczynski.
Straczynski adds the directors are keen to ensure the diverse city scenes are played by locals. Kenyan actors – all in their 20’s – selected in the multi-cultural TV series include Biko Nyongesa, Chichi Seii, Paul Ogola and Lwanda Jawar.
Netflix might have picked the production because of its potential to appeal to different countries as the company seeks to expand to more regions. With subscription numbers reaching the 60 million mark in April 2015, Netflix original productions such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black have become a hit in recent times picking a number of performing arts nominations and awards.