Sense8 star Max Riemelt talks working with the Matrix creators and shooting ‘aesthetic’ orgy scenes

The Matrix creators’ ‘Sense8’ is an epic, global sci-fi about empathy that’s dotted with intercontinental action sequences and telepathic orgy scenes. ‘It’s not all about the f**king’, its star Max Riemelt tells us as its second season hits Netflix.

Sense8

How would you describe Sense8 for people who haven’t seen it?

“It’s about eight people who have the ability to connect themselves with each other in the way they can feel and sense – and they can also appear in each other’s realities. In the first season they find out about it, and now that this is done, they’re trying to find out who is hunting them and battle this dark force called BPO. And then, each and every one also has their own backstory, and they have to deal with that too. [My character] Wolfgang is involved in the crime scene in Berlin – he had a trauma from his childhood that he solved by killing almost everyone in his family. Now he has to clean up his mess and face the other gangsters in Berlin.”

When you first got the script, did you think it was completely mad?

Yes. I had no idea how it was going to look, or if it was even possible to watch. Following eight storylines is pretty intense already, but I also always wondered about the effect of appearing in these different realities. I love the end result – there’s so much to see, and the message of it itself is beautiful.

The Wachowskis made The Matrix and Cloud Atlas – what was it like working with them?

A little bit intimidating. You’re working with these geniuses that can always tell if you’re shy. You have to be brave and very open, you have to trust a lot, even if you don’t understand it right away.

You mentioned the amazing visuals – what’s your favourite scene so far?

I love the action scenes and the club scenes. And the orgies – because if you do something new that you’re very afraid of or you can’t imagine what it’s like, you learn so much about yourself.

So yeah, there’s been two orgies so far. Is it really awkward afterwards?

No, it gets… not normal, but you just deal with it. If the message behind it is right, it’s not a real orgy, it’s not about the fucking – it’s more about the aesthetic.

There are also loads of scenes where you switch bodies with other characters. What’s that like logistically?

The logistics are all in the hands of very professional Hollywood people. The challenge is just with your own imagination. You always shoot it in two locations, so you have to find yourself again in a different environment and sometimes that’s a little bit hard to remember.

In Season 2, Whispers is the main villain. What can we expect from him or the story generally?
I can’t give you details, but he’s a mean bastard and he wants to kill us. We’re trying to stay a step ahead of him or his plans – and hunting them down.

Sense8 season 2 is available on Netflix from May 5.

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