Netflix invites you to give kaleidoscope a spin on New Year’s Day by pressing play Ocean’s Eleven-like heist drama that unwinds its episodes in a different order for each viewer.
Premiere Sunday, January 1, 2023, Kaleidoscope follows a gang of thieves and their attempt to crack an unbreakable vault and loot a massive payday. Loosely inspired by the real-life story in which $70 billion in bonds disappeared in downtown Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy, the eight-episode series spans decades—from 24 years before the hit to six months after.
Every Netflix user experience begins with an intro asset titled “Black,” after which viewers are directed – in a “personal order” – to the episodes “Yellow: 6 Weeks Before”, “Green: 7 Years Before”, “Blue: 5 Days Before”, “Violet: 24 Years Before”, “Orange: 3 Weeks Before”, “Red: The Morning After” and “Pink: 6 Months After” contributing to the finale of “White: The Heist”.
“It was a damn good show,” admits Giancarlo Esposito, who appears as the overexploitation architect Ray Vernon aka Leo Pap and thus directs an ensemble that also includes Paz Vega (The OA), Tati Gabrielle (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Peter Mark Kendall (The American), Rosaline Elbay (qabile), Jai Courtney (Stateless) and comedian Jordan Mendoza, while Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle) plays the security titan whose company guards the vault. Niousha Noor (Here and now), Soojeong son (servant) and Hemky Madera (Queen of the South) also star.
TVLine spoke to Esposito about what makes kaleidoscope unique, and where it fell into the ubiquitous actor very busy 2022.
TVLINE | If you ask me which movie I’ve seen the most The thorn is high up there, and right next to it is Ocean’s Eleven. i love a raid i love capers I love duplicity, sleight of hand, deception… Do you have a favorite heist movie?
you just named one The thorn, because it’s such a historical piece. And the movie about the diamonds in the rough, although it’s not really about a heist that came out a few years ago…
Everyone loves to figure out what the heist is going to be and how it’s going to take place, and when you get the chance to do that in a movie, you only have one trajectory, so to speak. with kaleidoscopeWhat turned me on was the idea that the heist just wasn’t one day, a heist, and then the cops were trying to figure it out, or the heist guys were trying to escape and fence off the money. this happened over a period of time, so the story is told over a period of time, and you can see how the heist affected each person who took part in it. And through the arrangement one can observe the seven [episodes] and understand what’s really happening and realize that all of these pieces played a huge part in solving the puzzle.
TVLINE | When someone is watching Ocean’s Eleven movie, the question is, “How are they going to pull this off?” Which questions after that does kaleidoscope invite the person to ask?
She asks what the effect of the event is in hindsight. Part of it is, “How are you going to pull this off?” but then we want to know if those in a very odd group of people are going to get away with it. “Will they live happily ever after?” “Are they really going to get the money?” It’s so character-driven because you engage with each character and each character is shaped by a dream, something that they hoped would come true by participating in it.
Stan (played by Peter Mark Kendall) has an idea of what he wants. Leo has an idea of what he wants even though he’s faced with all these other physical things he has to deal with that he wasn’t expecting. It’s kind of like this, I thought The Italian job. You’re immersed in the action and then you’re brought to the edge and it’s like, ‘Whoa, wait a minute. What’s going to happen after that?” But we have an opportunity to really scratch that itch, to also put it in the characters’ wishes and dreams. So for me, me want them to get away. You have the opportunity to cheer for all of these different characters for different reasons, because you might see yourself in one of them, and that’s an alluring and very delicious element of our play.
TVLINE | I hope to god no one looks at this and sees themselves in Jai Courtney’s bob.
I hope to God not. [Laughs] I mean, look, some people are loose guns, and Bob, he happens to be.
TVLINE | I mean…holy shit.
“Holy s–t” is correct. But I love Bob, and I definitely love Jai Courtney who plays him. He’s a great person and he really plays full and complete characters. But even with Bob, what does Bob want? He really wants love. He really wants respect.
TVLINE | [Googling…] Unpolished gemsthis is the film you were talking about earlier.
Unpolished gems, Yes! Such a tragedy. Tragic Characters. We have the same tragic feeling [in Kaleidoscope]but also after the eighth [episode], I daresay you will want more. And I don’t know how this will ever end.
I know I have to play this guy as Ray Vernon and switch to being [his alias] Leo Pap meant a lot to me because you had a man who had a dream. A guy walking straight. A guy who had a family, had a wife, had a kid and then –
TVLINE | tell nothing! So far, the algorithm has only served me the sequences “yellow”, “blue” and “orange”.
I won’t go any further, but you’ll see. It is exciting to have a dream and I hope that by watching this people will know that the plot is influenced by what you are missing in your life, informed by the relationship you have not reciprocated….
TVLINE | My biggest question a few episodes later – and it’s no spoiler – is, “Who the hell was Walter Salas (played by Rufus Sewell) before he became Walter Salas?” Because it’s clearly a big deal. But I think I’ll find out!
You will find out. Walter Salas is very, very connected to Leo, to Ray Vernon. It will be satisfying in the end because, again, the relationship between the two of these guys will tell you who Walter is and why he became that.
TVLINE | What do you think Netflix’s “random play order” does for viewers? What does that add to the mix?
I think it allows [viewers] not be in their comfort zone. When we observe things we kind of have an idea of how it’s going to end, how it’s going to end, what’s going to happen, so I like the idea of being taken out of your comfort zone because I think it allows you to be more observant . You need to watch this thing closely, and I imagine it willbecause little things happen that you don’t think are clues but are.
So I think the random order allows your brain to be jumbled up a bit on purpose so you pay more attention. This isn’t a show where you have to get up and do the dishes or do other things while you’re watching. There is so much to see.
TVLINE | I watched the episode that leads directly to the heist, and FBI Agent Abassi (played by Niousha Noor) shows up in another scene. I was like, “Ohhh, I remember her from the first episode…” And next there’s a whole episode about it you.
Yes, which gives you a way into her world if you’ve only seen part of her. And it’s great that you do, because then you’re immersed in her life and story for half a bar. It gets your attention.
TVLINE | You are a person who always has several irons in the fire. But if you look back over the past year, between the things that have come out and the projects you’ve been working on, is 2022 about as busy as it’s going to be for you? There was Better call Saullast season, The younga bit in Harley Quinn and now kaleidoscopewhile you probably filmed some of them The Mandalorian, Godfather of Harlem….
2022 was one of the busiest years, I have to say. And in 2023 I’m not done yet. I am part of The gentlemen [TV spinoff] with Guy Ritchie, which is wonderful to be a part of. And I was over in London working on a secret project that you’ll be hearing about soon too. But to give you an example, I thought, “God, if that wasn’t mate [calling] Why am I on the phone today when I just got off the plane after being away from home for a year?” It’s basically a year since I walked into my house which I walked into just 20 minutes ago.
TVLINE | Wow…
Well, it’s as good as it gets, as busy as it gets, but I have to say I’m on a creative wave. I mean, I know for you and for the audience they say, “man, this guy keeps working,” but I’ve had the opportunity to take part in quality projects that I couldn’t say no to. Everything I read, everything I do, has touched me in a particularly passionate way kaleidoscope. I said, “Wow, I see the challenges, I see the creative elements that will allow me to soar.” I see Eric Garcia as the showrunner/writer who I think has so much talent. I see the different directors bringing a different approach to each episode, which allowed me to think, “Okay, I make little films every week.”
This started a long time ago breaking Badit went on Better call Sauland with Saul I had the chance to direct… And when you work with Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, you work with people who don’t see it as television. They picture it like this: “We make a finely tuned film every week.”
The same goes for Chris Brancato, who does this Godfather of Harlem with the wonderful Forest Whitaker. Playing Adam Clayton Powell Jr. has been the ease of my life because I’ve played so many guys who was close to the vest. Even Stan Edgar [on The Boys], he is a different kind of “company man” who is connected to the roots of Germany and exploits everyone in a certain way. That was a whole different character for me to step into. But then I can play a guy [on Godfather of Harlem] who is an accomplished orator and preacher, but also a womanizer and drinker. He’s a fun guy and a guy with a moral compass. He never gave in to Bumpy Johnson and never did anything illegal with Bumpy because he genuinely cared about people and helped people. Telling part of the story of someone who actually lived and giving people access to that story has really, really excited me this year.
So this has been a great year and it’s really wonderful to have the opportunity for so many people to be grateful and to watch and watch. This is something special for me.
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https://tvline.com/2022/12/29/giancarlo-esposito-kaleidoscope-heist-drama-preview-netflix/ Giancarlo Esposito Previews Netflix Heist Drama Kaleidoscope