On Netflix’s groundbreaking, globespanning series Sense8, Jamie Clayton plays Nomi Marks, a trans woman and hacktivist living in San Francisco with her girlfriend, Amanita.
But as she discovers she’s part of a group who can telepathically communicate with each other across thousands of miles, and share each other’s emotions and experiences, Nomi’s freedom—and her life—is put in jeopardy.
As Netflix readies to release Season Two of Sense8 on May 5, we spoke with Clayton about the show, her character, and shooting at Sao Paolo Pride, among more than five million revelers.
How is Sense8 Season Two different from Season One?
The biggest difference the fans are gonna see is that it’s a lot bigger. There’s 16 cities, a lot of new characters. You’ll meet other Sense8s. For us that meant it took longer to shoot, and involved a lot more traveling. But you get find out the origins of BPO [the Biologic Preservation Organization] and what they’re doing. Now that the eight of us know what’s going on more, Season 2 really takes off with a bang.
Beyond the various plotlines, it definitely feels like Sense8 is making a bigger point about society, about humanity. Has Lana Wachowski talked to you guys about a message for the show?
Lana has this amazing knack for predicting things that might not be in forefront but then become really, really timely. I’d say our shows stands for everything thats the reverse of whats happening politically.
We’re seeing more trans performers on TV and film, but whats so great about Sense8 is that Nomi isn’t just a token character. She has a sex life, she’s got a hot girlfriend. Do you feel that trans people being presented as sexual beings is the next frontier?
It’s completely true. And Nomi has the most honest relationship in the series. Lito and Hernando love each other but they’re still struggling. One of the reasons I wanted this project was I wanted to play a trans character whose story wasn’t about her being trans.
Of all the negative comments we get, I’m always surprised how people are offended by the sex, but not the violence. Two people of the same gender, or people of different skin, sets them off. But the fighting and all that is fine. That says something is off in our culture.
The whole cast went down to Brazil for Sao Paolo Pride, which actually factors into Season 2. What was it like being a part of the biggest Pride celebration in the world?
It was beyond anything I could have imaged. I had been to Brazil to go to their comic con just six months before, so I knew the people in Brazil are so warm and kind—and they’re lunatic fans for Sense8. When the fans find out why—and how—we’re at the parade, they’re going to lose i. The storyline that goes along with it is so good.
Of course it wasn’t easy—you’ve got this live event actually happening with millions of people and you’re trying to shoot scenes. You can’t do a second take on a moving parade. You want to join in and have fun and celebrate, but at the same time you have to keep reminding yourself you’re there to do a job.
Sense8 Season 2 drops May 5 on Netflix.