Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams Cast Talks Sci-Fi Master's Short Works

Bryan Cranston in Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.
Bryan Cranston in Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. Amazon / Channel 4

On Friday, Amazon Prime Video hosted a joint panel focusing on The Man in the High Castle and Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams as part of New York Comic Con 2017. Members of the cast and crew from both shows shared their thoughts on the work of the legendary sci-fi writer, and its continued relevance in light of contemporary social issues. The Electric Dreams panel included actor Liam Cunningham (best known as Ser Davos in Game of Thrones), along with Executive Producers Michael Dinner, Ronald D. Moore and Isa Dick Hackett.

Based on a short story of the same name, each episode of Electric Dreams features a self-contained story with a unique cast. Every installment takes place at some point in the future, from five years ahead to as far away as five millennia. The showrunners treated each of the ten installments of Electric Dreams as it’s own standalone creation. “I don’t like to call it episodes. I like to call it a series of ten movies,” Dinner explained.

Dick Hackett credits Amazon for allowing “some of the gems” of her father’s work to reach a broader audience. “The golden age of streaming has allowed us to make things that wouldn’t have been made otherwise.”

The showrunners emphasized Electric Dreams won’t be a literal, word-for-word adaptation of Dick’s short fiction. “The challenge was, initially, trying to figure out who the right writers would be for all ten episodes, and how to structure the stories to fit into a format that’s pretty rigid," explained Dick Hackett. Some of the stories are super conceptual, some of the adaptations are based on taking one or two ideas from the story and having the writers create their own interpretation. The goal, when we began, was: how do we take work from the 50s and pulpy and make something that felt very relevant and contemporary? Fortunately, the themes of the work are extremely contemporary.”

Cunningham offered some broad impressions of a his episode, where he acts alongside Bryan Cranston. “The humanity in this piece is gorgeous. There’s a very good reason why it’s called ‘Human Is,’ which you will find out when you see it.”

The actor also fondly remembered being blown away watching Total Recall for the first time in Dublin. (“The 90s Schwarzenegger one,” he insisted, for the avoidance of doubt.) “I’ve never seen so much popcorn in the theater, flying around. Screaming. It was complete chaos in the cinema.”

The series is currently airing in the U.K. Sundays on Channel 4, drawing praise from fans and critics after the first few episodes. “We’re hearing really positive things,” Dick Hackett said of the reception across the pond. The Telegraph called the third installment of Electric Dreams, “The Commuter,” sci-fi at its most responsible, a wild fantasy about grim reality.”

We’re really hoping the show lives up to the promise shown in the new trailer for the U.S. release of the series, shown for the first time at NYCC.

Will you be tuning into Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams when it comes to Amazon Prime Video? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out more of Player.One’s NYCC 2017 coverage while you’re here!

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