Syfy’s new hour-long dramatic series Incorporated, from executive producers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, imagines the not-so-distant future of 2074, in which corporate America has taken control of the nation and turned it into a divided society that is not so far from our current reality.
The star of Incorporated, Sean Teale, told us about this dystopian America and how his character, Aaron (who is also known as Ben), plays both sides of the coin.
Incorporated takes place in the year 2074, a time that’s not too far away from the present. The technological advancements make this time appear otherworldly but still within reach. Can you tell us a little more about life during this time?
Life during the world of Incorporated isn’t too far away from where we are now. Across the board it seems the creators and writers' room made a deliberate effort not to not stretch away from the realm of possibility, even though science fiction as a genre means you kind of can. The cars that drive themselves and devices like Everclear that you’ll encounter further into the series are already in development, news clips discussing the effects of global warming seem to be in line with current estimates, little side stories of countries building walls to block out immigrants were (freakily) then blurted out to the nation by certain presidential candidates months after we’d filmed the pilot. Life during this time is harsh. The world is ravaged by global warming, causing mass migration and huge shifts in countries' powers and capabilities. Because of that, governments could no longer look after their people and corporations took control. This world is effectively separated into Green and Red zones, the haves and the have nots. Those that live in the Green Zones are almost certainly part of these mega-corporations in some capacity, and the majority of the populace are left to fend for themselves in these simmering, dangerous, decaying Red zones where life is tough and people are in need for even the most basic amenities. But the Green Zones in all their opulence are missing things too - humanity being one thing.
There are hints in episode one of people not being who they say they are, or perhaps who the audience thinks they might be – talk about the role that’s going to play in the show as season one evolves.
People not being who they say they are plays a big part in storylines across the series, as secrets and ulterior motives start to seep through. As the series unfolds, you start to notice no one is distinctly the same way you met them - we all have secrets, skeletons in our closet. As our characters start to bounce off each other those come out and carnage ensues. The great thing about all of these characters is that everyone has their motives and they’re all realistic - for example, no one is inherently evil for the sake of being evil. Which will hopefully lead to people being divided and conflicted, making them take sides with any one of the main characters, depending on where their sensibilities lie.
What is Spiga, and does it rule the corporate world everywhere, or just in the small area of the nation that we’ve seen in episode one?
Spiga is one of the biggest corporations on the planet. It’s a Biotechnical company that specializes in food production (feeding a huge amount of the planet). It has fierce rivals including Inazagi, who between them pass out huge swaths of land across the planet depending on how valuable they consider them to be. Because food is scarce and hard to grow, their modified seeds give them power over everyone, so it’s not just the small area we show you in the first episode. They have offices in Jakarta, Europe. They would have one in New York if it wasn’t underwater…
We witness Ben doing some pretty shady things because of the rules and regulations Spiga has in place – is this typical behavior for Ben?
A lot of Ben’s storyline revolves around his descent into chaos. Aaron (Ben) is well intentioned, kind, intelligent and loyal before he creates this persona. He still is until he finally finds out where Elena is. At heart Ben (Aaron) is just trying to succeed in his noble quest of sorts which is to save her. But life isn’t as simple as that and he ends up having to do questionable things to achieve his goals. Bit by bit the lies and dangers get bigger and bigger and soon there’s no other way out than to go through - losing parts of himself and potentially becoming someone different in the process. He’s truly stuck between a sharp rock and a hard place but if it wasn’t for Spiga and some of its heinous policies he wouldn’t have to be doing this. He doesn’t want to be doing these things but it’s all he can do to save the people he loves and prevent more people from being hurt in the future. How far he goes you’ll see in the first season as he starts to question if the end justifies the means.
What can you tell us about Elena?
Elena is someone you meet in the second episode as a young girl. She and a young Ben spark up a relationship 12 years prior to present day and through a series of awful events, she ends up having to sell herself to Spiga to pay the family’s bills, which is why Aaron infiltrates the company to save her. She’s sold effectively into sex slavery at one of the corporation’s private clubs. She’s intelligent, strong and beautifully played by Denyse Tontz.
Talk about “the quiet room” and what it takes to get sent to that room.
The quiet room is somewhere you just don’t want to be. It’s the head of security Julian’s realm where he extracts information or admissions from whoever the poor person is being questioned in a variety of ways. If you’re on the wrong side, or deceive the company, or even just appear to wrong them in any way? Quiet Room. The company comes first - always.
There are a lot of plot developments in episode one. How would you sum up Incorporated, and why should someone tune in?
Incorporated is ultimately a depiction of a world not too far from ours, and the story of a man taking on a mega-corporation to save the woman he loves. What ensues from that quest is a head-on collision of worlds and the people within them. Why should someone tune in? If you love dramatic thrillers, espionage, science fiction or all three then hopefully this show will be of value to you. There’s something or someone in it for everyone to enjoy or relate to. We loved every minute of making it, and would love to make more so feel free to tune in and I hope more than anything that you enjoy!
Don’t miss the premiere of Incorporated Wednesday, November 30 at 10pm ET on Syfy, or watch the first episode now on-demand.