I’m sure you have been wondering where have I been all this time, if you haven’t then you probably should ask yourself why haven’t you wondered. Jokes. I’ve found an editing app I have been using on my phone and have been able to record and edit videos in bed, proof that I’m not lazy, I just want to be on my back while I’m working.
A few weeks ago my Showmax insider sent a long list of shows that would be coming to the platform and Raised by Wolves stood out to me because if the location and the fact that Riddley Scott was involved in the making.
Get a load of this – the story follows two androids tasked with raising human children after Earth has been destroyed in a religious war. It kicks off with a spaceship that lands on planet Kepler-22b with Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim) who are sent to a seemingly uninhabited planet with the mission of raising six children from embryos to grown adults.
Complications arise when monsters start to attack them or a group of religious extremists who want to rescue the children from their android caregivers.
Raised by Wolves has already been nominated for three 2021 Critics Choice Super Awards: Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Series, Best Actor: Sci-Fi for Travis Fimmel (Vikings’ Ragnar) and Best Actress: Sci-Fi for Danish actress Amanda Collin, whose character, Mother, was called “the most memorable female/female-like space entity since Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley in Alien.” by The Wall Street Journal.
Four-time Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Ridley Scott, executive produces and directs the first two episodes of the series. As Inverse put it, Raised By Wolves is “phenomenal… Ridley Scott’s best sci-fi since Alien… there’s no TV show quite like it.”
The cast includes Abubakar Salim, Niamh Algar, and Matias Varela, who co-star alongside South African actors, including Clayton Evertson (Arendsvlei), Susan Danford (Still Breathing), Litha Bam (Intersexions), Garth Breytenbach (8, Troy: Fall of a City), Tristan de Beer (The Girl from St Agnes, Rage), Tanya van Graan (Die Spook van Uniondale, Zulu), Tarryn Wyngaard (DAM, The Watch, Dwaalster), Jenna Upton (Cape Town) and Anlia van Rensburg (Getroud Met Rugby), as well as Loulou Taylor and Daniel Lasker in breakthrough roles.
Magnificent South African locations like Stellenbosch and Lourensford Wine Estate outside Somerset West form the haunting backdrop of planet Kepler 22-b, a real planet around 620 light-years from Earth that scientists speculate could potentially support life, though we don’t yet know what its surface actually looks like.
Here’s what Scott told Forbes about Lourensford, “We found a range of mountains that were in your face for about a kilometre, and every morning this tablecloth of cloud would come in, it would just roll over them, and I went, ‘Oh my God!’ It was surreal, it was otherworldly, so half the work was done, just by the location.”
But what really makes the South African landscape feel alien to foreign audiences are the quiver trees (also known as kokerboom trees). “What I loved in the (South African) desert were the trees, which were something in the aloe/cactus family,” Scott tells us. “I said, ‘I have to have those trees.’ We got permission to transplant some onto a piece of terrain less than a kilometre from the foot of this beautiful mountain range…”
The interiors of The Ark were constructed at Cape Town Film Studios, while Raised by Wolves also shot at locations like The Good Hope Centre and the old Maitland abattoir.
Scott’s long-time collaborator Dariusz Wolski, who was also director of photography on The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, was nominated for a 2020 Camerimage Award for the series pilot, so you know our landscapes are in safe hands.
Film Afrika line producer Cheryl Eatock confirms Raised By Wolves is the biggest budget show ever to film in South Africa. For context, she says, Season 1 created nearly 700 full-time equivalent jobs, 52% of which went to youth and 66% of which went to historically disadvantaged individuals. The series also hired 1200 businesses, predominantly small, medium and micro-enterprises. 25 historically disadvantaged individuals received hands-on training, facilitated by the non-profit The SA Film Academy (SAFA), an accredited training provider established and managed by the SA production service companies to ensure growth in the industry. And 18 SAFA alumni worked as full crew members of Raised By Wolves.
Eatock confirms Collin is already back in the country prepping for Season 2: great news for the South African economy, our international service sector that has been brutalised by the pandemic, and all sci-fi fans.
“This chart-topping series beautifully weaves together Ridley’s hallmarks of sci-fi and horror while offering fans one of the most original storylines they’ve seen in some time,” says Sarah Aubrey, head of HBO Max. “I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Season 2.”