Showrunner John Fusco is obsessed with the real-life titular character of his Netflix series, “Marco Polo.” He’s also all about the streaming service’s content distribution method of dumping an entire season online at once, which Fusco said is “like reading an epic novel.”
“I feel that Marco Polo has really been misrepresented — has never really gotten his due,” Fusco told TheWrap at a press junket for the upcoming series. “And that the mythology that Marco’s been buried under for so long is so less exciting than his actually accounts. And so … obsessed? Absolutely. I have been for years.”
Fusco added that the only way he think’s Polo’s story could be told — finally letting him “out of the box,” as he put it — was via a long-form television series. Through Netflix, he got exactly what he wanted. Plus he got to see the world — or at least several parts of the famed Silk Road.
Over the course of 10 episodes, the production took to four different countries.
Noting the travel, Fusco shared with us what he always said on set to his cast and crew: “We’re not just making ‘Marco Polo,’ we’re living it,” he recalled. “Because we traveled to Venice … Kazakhstan … into the jungles of Malaysia.”
Later in the interview, actor Tommy Wu chimed in to express how “exciting” and “refreshing” he found the series’ exotic locations, martial arts training, wire-work, and horseback-riding lessons to be.
Wu told TheWrap that he binge-watched sister Netflix drama “House of Cards,” while Fusco was more of an “Orange Is the New Black” kinda guy.
In a separate interview from the junket, actor Chin Han told TheWrap he believes that the moment is right for a series like “Marco Polo.”
“We live in a time where there’s a great deal of navel-gazing, with the devices that we have that occupy so much of our time … many subjects of history are lost,” Han said.
Aside from a little bit of learning, Han hopes his show inspires a newfound sense of adventure into our society.
But Han — more a film fan than a TV watcher — is not above gazing at those devices he mentioned, so long as the content is interesting — which he surely believes qualifies “Marco Polo.” As a matter of fact, he finds binge-watching to be more of a movie-going experience than traditional TV, perhaps explaining his affinity for Netflix.
In the interview, Han’s on-camera partner Olivia Cheng took it a step further, admitting to being a “compulsive” binge-watcher.
“Marco Polo” will be available on Netflix on Friday.