Predicting the Future of Climate Change – The Making of “Extrapolations” on Apple TV+

“We have this sort of projection of religion as an anti-science thing, and that's not what I found in speaking to people,” shared actor Daveed Diggs, who plays a Rabbi in Extrapolations, an anthology series from Apple TV+ that set between 2037 and 2070, showcasing how climate change could impact the future. The cast list includes the likes of Meryl Streep, Edward Norton, Diane Lane, Keri Russell, Forest Whitaker, Tobey Maguire, Murray Bartlett, David Schwimmer, and Yara Shahidi. Daveed was one of just two members of the cast present at a TCA press conference to promote the series, but his enthusiasm for the project is reportedly echoed amongst its many A-list cast members. As part of his preparation for the role, Daveed Diggs met with several real rabbis, talking to them about the intersection of climate change and religion. “It's actually about how we mobilize our communities… How do we mobilize these communities to be actively part of the process of changing things? And that was a really interesting thing to learn for somebody who's going through this crisis of faith in the show, brought on by this little girl asking these exact questions. Are we being punished and not having a real answer to that?”

(Apple TV+)

(Apple TV+)

Extrapolations is the brainchild of Scott Z. Burns, who also serves as an executive producer. “There's been so much great storytelling done about climate change that focuses on the end,” the series creator said, adding that he doesn’t foresee a future in which humans no longer populate the Earth, but the way we live will certainly change. “We don’t know the end, but we do know enough science now to know that there are a lot of steps between where we are today and the end. And so what I wanted to do was to tell a series of stories that allow you to go on this hopefully-amazing thrill ride between where we are today and where we might end up and what we can do to change any of those steps along the way.” The series creator also tried to make this big TV production as green as possible. “We worked very closely with a company called Green Spark, and they were with us the whole way. They trained our department heads, they came and taught us better things to eat your food off of, better things to eat, a whole gamut of things that we take for granted on set. We tried to run a very, very green set.”

“You may not be interested in climate change but it's interested in you,” cautioned executive producer Dorothy Fortenberry, who focused on making sure the series told a diverse breadth of relatable stories that audiences could project their lives one. “There's eight billion stories we could've told, but we wanted to have a real array between the decision makers, the politicians, the climate scientists, the experts, the leaders of nations, the leaders of industry, and regular people who just want to make it home to have dinner with their kid at night, and they can't because the subway is flooded. We really tried to get a lot of different kinds of perspectives. People who wake up every day and think about climate change. People who wake up every day and have to live in a climate-changed world whether they want to think about it or not. Something that was important to us was to show a number of perspectives. And we tried to be as global as possible. We go all around the world in the show and really show different kinds of families, different kinds of jobs, friendships, really capturing how this issue is going to play out in a number of kinds of relationships.”

“You either have beautifully written scripts or you don’t,” quipped executive producer Michael Ellenberg when asked about the casting process to attract such big names, giving credit to the writers room led by Scott and Dorothy, which was not only rooted in story, but also scientific research to predict a plausible future. “It’s pretty binary and they were drawn to the material, frankly. They’re very unique stories, and I think one of the things from the beginning of this was to do an absurdly conceptual piece that was intimately told and told through an incredibly personal lens. I mean, we’re fans of genre, but it’s a very specific kind of storytelling, and I think actors, the kind of remarkable cast we’re drawn, that’s in part why. I should also give credit to Carmen Cuba. We had an exceptional casting director as well, who it was wildly logistically complex to pull all of this off, and she was an incredible key partner in this.”

“I've been fortunate to know Scott for a long time,” actor Matthew Rhys concluded about his own decision to join the cast. “He, by definition, has made me more mindful because of his awareness and his campaigning. And, sadly, there are people who have that idea we'll be dead, which is terrifying… But the truth is it's far more disturbing. And, as we used to discuss about smoking, we all know about smoking. But it's not until someone gets lung cancer that something is done. So, we have an opportunity to show what it'd be like to live with lung cancer in a roundabout way.”

Extrapolations is now streaming exclusively on Apple TV+.