This Altered Carbon article contains spoilers.
There will always be casualties when adapting any novel to the screen. Settings can change, plot points dropped, and some important characters may even get left behind. When it comes to episodic television though, there are plenty of opportunities to bring back lost favorites into the fold. Such is the case with Altered Carbon. After sitting out the show’s first season, bounty hunter Trepp makes her glorious debut in Altered Carbon season 2.
While she is still a bounty hunter sent to collect Takeshi Kovacs, Trepp enters season two with no connection to any of the characters from the first outing. Bringing this fierce powerhouse to life is Simone Missick, who many Marvel fans will know from her time portraying Misty Knight in Netflix’s Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. We sat down with Simone to talk about what makes Trepp such an appealing character and about her preparation to bring another beloved literary hero to life.
DEN OF GEEK: Trepp actually is a character from the first book who didn’t make it into the first season. Did you find it necessary to go all the way back and study the character from the start or did that not necessarily matter?
SIMONE MISSICK: It mattered to me, having done a superhero show where the comic book fans were like, “Did you even read the source material?” So I went in and tried to read as much of that book that I could, before we started production. Unfortunately, there was no getting through it all in time. I mean, there is a lot that goes into getting the character ready for the show, but I definitely read through the first 10 to 15 chapters of the book, but then I just started marking things off till I got to my part. I’d read it, then go, “bullshit, bullshit, bullshit,” then find all the parts where Trepp was described and got a good feel for who she was. I definitely felt the same amount of pressure to lend the same amount of authenticity and some realism to the character that was created in the books. Because these fans have been waiting to see some of these characters come to life, and you just can’t mess it up, you cannot.
All the characters in this world are a bit ambiguous when it comes to their motives. Is that something that always sticks in your head when creating your version of someone like Trepp?
What’s so great about this show is the writers. They make it easy for us, they really do. When we first meet Trepp, you just think she’s a chick at a bar, looking for somebody and having a cocktail. Then you find out she’s a cold-blooded bounty hunter and she’s shooting people in the head, ripping out people’s stacks. I didn’t have to do much with that, it’s right there on the page for you. There is this sense that you can trust that the storytellers have done their homework, so you can just bring your A-game to it and not have to think about some of the other things.
What is beautiful about Trepp is her motivating force and the thing that’s driving her throughout the season is so strong and so powerful, but you don’t know it when you first meet her. You have no clue that she has a family, a kid, and she’s married to a woman, and has a brother, and an estranged father. You don’t know any of these things, you just think this is a cold-blooded assassin. It’s great to not have to necessarily wear that on your sleeve. I think a lot of genres would make you do that. If this were the Grey’s Anatomy version of Altered Carbon, Trepp would be a very different version of herself. For me it is just great to play the reality of who this woman is, without having to worry about the idea of, “How does this play? How does this play as a woman? How does that play as a black woman?” It is just how this works as a person.
On a more specific level – even though she does have this big family, and she isn’t even opposed to working with Tak in a partnership, do you think she is a bit of a loner?
I think, professionally, she is a loner. I think personally, very much so, she is a person who values family. She needs it, like we all do. This show is essentially a love story…it’s a love story to humanity. It’s the fact that we need people, that we need someone who we can look into their eyes and they reflect who we are, and that transcends time, planets, death.
You watch Takeshi and Quell and…what is it that Poe actually says, “He’s on an epic quest to find his long lost love, Quellcrist Falconer, challenging even the grim bounds of death.” That’s every character in this show, with the exception of…well, we’ll just say, not everybody. For my character though, I can say that she has that same need and that same love for family. She’s definitely not a loner, but maybe a bit of a lone-wolf.
Because she feels so strongly in that way, do you think it clouded her mind on what she probably knows really did happen to her brother?
I think she definitely thought he was still alive, I do. When I think about her seeing his stack around the neck of this fraud! I mean, she had to think he was alive, there was no way she would put her son’s life on the line, if she didn’t think it was legitimate. T.J., his sleeve is rented, and she cleaned them out just to find one more clue toward finding her brother. So she, like we all do when you love someone that much, will do anything for them. Even if it seems to the rest of the world, to the person closest to you as irrational, unbelievable, irresponsible…I think she believed he was still alive.
Even though things turn out well for Trepp overall, does she forgive Tak? Does she forgive Quell?
I think that, we can say that they turned out well, but she still lost people, and one of them died following the principles of Quell. We watch Trepp take this journey, she goes from looking like she is a lone-wolf, but then you find out why she’s really doing it, but she is definitely not a Quellist. She does not believe in the principles of Quellcrist Falconer, but they come to a common ground of sorts and she begins to at least appreciate and identify with who this woman started out as, what her founding principles were. Regardless of how that was bastardized over the centuries.
Though while I think she identifies with her and she appreciates Quell’s need to help the world, Trepp is still a human being. It’s hard to look at someone and not remember, “If I had not done this with you, they would still be alive. And if he hadn’t don’t that under your ideals, he would still be alive.” So forgive? Maybe. Forget? Never.
You know, I think audiences get caught up with big sci-fi movies, thinking (and many times they are right) that the set is always just a big green screen. Then you get shows like this, where it’s obvious you are running around on some intricate sets.
Oh my gosh, we would walk onto the set that was the downtown of Harland’s World and it would smell just like it looked. They had steam coming out vents and I was like, “How does it smell like garbage!? You all made this garbage! How does it smell?” It created a realism for us as actors where we didn’t have to do as much imagining when it comes to that.
I had one blue screen when we were out in the forest, and then they still stuck me on the side of a mountain! They were like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. We got a blue screen, but that’s just in case. We’re still gonna put you on the side of a mountain. Anthony has on his helmet, you have on your street clothes…rehearse!” And when we actually shot it, it was us on the side of a mountain. Sure, there are a lot of things that are pretend, but I didn’t experience many of them. The gift of being on the real sets is great.
In this world, no one is ever technically gone. Even people whose sleeves are gone suddenly have a 3D printed extra showing up. So while we will easily see you again as Trepp, do you have any Desire to maybe see Trepps sleeve walking around with a different DHF?
Like somebody took my sleeve…? No, Trepp should always be in her original sleeve, no one should be in Trepp’s sleeve. Anthony, or should I say Takeshi, got to play around a bit with her DHF in his sleeve and I already had enough of it. Look, he went off and he kissed my wife with his mouth, and I’m like, “What’s going on here?” No, I want her to stay Trepp. Just like I love how Laeta [Kalorgridis] set out to start the show, she wanted to make sure Poe and Quell were in every iteration of the story. So I’d like to see Trepp as Trepp in whatever future iterations that we see.