“He’s an emotional powerhouse”: Will Yun Lee’s a fan of ‘Altered Carbon’ alter-ego Anthony Mackie

(NEW YORK) — The second season of Netflix’s sci-fi series Altered Carbon is now available for your streaming pleasure — though co-star Will Yun Lee says preparing for his role in the show was considerably less fun.

Some background first.  In the futuristic show, a person’s consciousness can be uploaded to a new body — or “sleeve.”  Season one had actor Joel Kinnaman playing Takeshi Kovacs [KOH-vahsh], a super-soldier meant to patrol far-flung space colonies. 

Kovacs’ “original” sleeve was portrayed by actor Will Yun Lee, who told ABC Audio that matching Kinnaman’s real-life body was a challenge. 

“I was overweight for [another] show that gained like 30 pounds for, and I saw his body, and I said…’I’m so sorry, I can’t do this.'”

However, Lee recalled a conversation with show creator Laeta Kalodridis: “She said, ‘Well, how long would it take?’ I said, ‘Maybe five, six weeks,’ which is just an impossible feat. But I did it.”

He adds with a laugh, “But, you know, my wife hated me. I was, you know, eating nothing. And I doing three-a-days [workouts] and just killing myself.”

For season two, set 30 years after the original, Anthony Mackie also plays Kovacs — and both Kovacses face off against each other. 

“I was a little nervous to meet him at first…but we clicked right away,” Lee says of Mackie. “I think people are gonna be blown out of the water. He is an emotional powerhouse.”

A physical one, too, the martial artist admits. “He’s got heavy hands. So, you know, 4 a.m. fights with Anthony Mackie. Definitely, I had to be on my A-game.” 

Altered Carbon season two is now streaming on Netflix.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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