Lumen Illuminating Company
Has there ever been a really GOOD steampunk movie or TV show? Harking back to William Gibson and Bruce Sterling’s The Difference Engine, the appeal of the retro- futuristic subgenre has mostly been dominated by novels over the past few decades. But now Lumen – James Frey’s new pilot for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television – is propelling it into unprecedented territory on the small screen.
“Steampunk is cool!” the Endgame author tells Red Alert. “You only have to go to Comic- Con and see all the people in steampunk costumes to know how popular it is. Nobody has really done anything like this before, so if it works it’ll be awesome!”
Directed by Joe Johnston ( Captain America: The First Avenger) and starring Parenthood’s Sam Jaeger, it follows 16- year- old Charlie, whose determination to discover why his favourite fantasy author has inexplicably disappeared unwittingly embroils his family in a timeless mystical battle. “We were trying to come up with an idea for a show for Amblin and we thought of this magical world,” Frey explains. “But if you even begin to go into the idea of a magical world, you soon realise that everything has already been done before. So we imagined a steampunk world where instead of electricity, magic is the primary source of power.”
But while most steampunk stories are invariably set in a version of Victorian London, Lumen will shoot in Auckland. “They’ve built some pretty astonishing facilities there,” claims Frey. “There are only a few places in the world where you can shoot something as effects- heavy as a steampunk show and there’s a whole bunch of crew who know how to do that kind of world- building.”
James Frey is heading
a fair distance from