Beverly Hills, Calif. — What if the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria) won WWII?
Amazon Studios’ The Man in the High Castle, based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick, explores just that.
“I really hope it makes people think,” said Frank Spotnitz, executive producer and writer of the series, during the show’s TCA Summer 2015 Press Tour panel on Monday. “What do you stand for? What are your values? How do you differ from the people you see in the show?”
Spotniz added that what struck him about the book is you can’t assume the good guys are going to win.
The series, which is set in the U.S. in 1962, presents an alternate take on history with Germany ruling the East Coast and Japan heading up the West Coast, and Spotniz said the biggest challenge for producers was finding visual alternatives.
The Man in the High Castle has been in the works for more than eight years, landing deals first with BBC and Syfy, which both fell through.
Co-executive producer David Zucker, who with Isa Dick Hackett worked on the series from the get-go, said that when they first started shopping the series there weren’t as many buyers.
“I think looking back, we couldn’t be happier,” said Zucker.
The first season of The Man in the High Castle drops on Amazon Nov. 20 in the U.S., U.K., Austria and Germany. But the pilot is currently available for viewing on the streamer.
Other highlights from the panel included:
—Star Rufus Sewell, who plays American Nazi John Smith, said he was initially hesitant to sign on to the project because he didn’t want to play a character who was torturing people and walking down corridors. But after doing research and finding out more about the series, he saw that Smith ends up very conflicted and there was an opportunity to explore who a Nazi would be if the war had ended differently.
—The actors admitted that despite the heaviness of the subject matter, they did find time to laugh. “I laugh all day long,” said DJ Qualls, who plays Ed McCarthy.