Renée Elise Goldsberry On Diversity In Sci-Fi, ‘Altered Carbon,’ And Her Own Tech Rules

Renée Elise Goldsberry is kicking butt as Quellcrist Falconer in Netflix’s latest sci-fi murder mystery Altered Carbon, created by Laeta Kalogridi. 

The April 2017 ESSENCE covergirl and Tony Award-winning actress’ new role shows her fighting the government in a future where people never really die and consciousness can be digitized. 

Speaking with ESSENCE, Goldsberry dished on her role as Quellcrist, a Black woman in a world where people can upload their consciousness into any physical body they want. It’s an important decision to make when considering the events of today, but in the world of Altered Carbon things are a little different.

“I do think the world has to be different, I have to say,” Goldsberry told ESSENCE. “I don’t think we’re assuming that that world is this world because who you are is defined as something bigger [and more accurate] than that, in a world where you’re picking what your body is.”

Based on the book of the same name by Richard K. Morgan, Goldsberry also touches on the author’s decision to make Quellcrist a Black woman.”I love that in this art form the writer has made a case that this woman, whose mission is to save the world, shows the body of a woman of color. This is the embodiment of power to me. I have the most important thing in the world to do, and I’m going to be able to do it best in that body.”

When asked about whether she’d have her own consciousness uploaded into a different body for immortality, the actress said she’d definitely opt out. 

“I wouldn’t want the option because it would be very confusing,” she says. She then hesitates before arriving at a response, “I say no. I want to always choose faith, I think the idea that life has to exist in this plane and in bodies on this plane, is only what we know.”

Aside from the diverse characters and life-altering technology, the series is receiving tons of buzz for its mind-bending finale that could see a few of the characters return in new bodies if the show gets picked up for a second season. 

“I love the concept of the show I love the fact that anyone can be anybody. There could be another actress playing Quell; there could be another actor playing [Takeshi] Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman), it could be us and other people,” Goldsberry told ESSENCE. “…I think Netflix and Skydance are really serving the vision of this storyteller, and that’s Laeta, and Laeta’s mission is to really be a positive, powerful, strong, feminist voice.”