In director Miguel Sapochnik’s upcoming post-apocalyptic drama Finch, Tom Hanks stars as the titular inventor who finds himself living in almost complete solitude after a cataclysmic event wipes out the vast bulk of the world’s population save for him and his dog. Keen on making sure that his canine companion is taken care of once he dies, Finch sets out to construct an intelligent robot meant to protect the pup, and Finch follows as the unlikely family leans on one another in the end times.
Though Finch’s trailers have made the film out to be far more bright and hopeful that other features with similar themes like I Am Legend and The Road, that isn’t necessarily a reflection of how much easier it was to bring the story to life. During a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, where he compared his experiences working as a director on both Game of Thrones and Finch, Sapochnik said that it’s “harder to do something with any sort of hope or lightness for many reasons,” but that it’s immediately apparent when the is working.
While Finch largely revolves around Hanks’ character, who often interacts with a live dog, Sapochnik said that the actor’s grounded, relaxed demeanor played a large role in the smoothness of the production. Because the outside world Finch and his pet live in is so inhospitable to living organisms, he has to don a specialized suit at multiple points throughout the movie to survive the elements. Bulky exosuits are common enough in sci-fi films that everyone’s heard horror stories of people being made to stand around in what amounts to heavy, wearable saunas for hours on end—but Sapochnik described how Finch’s creative team made a point of building something Hanks could reasonably work in.
“He would come onto set in the suit, do his scenes, then sit in a chair, close his visor, turn on the AC and go to sleep,” Sapochnik recalled. “Then when we were ready, he’d open the visor and go. That might not sound unique, but it has this cumulative effect. Everybody else was ‘on’ as a result.”
Finch is releasing just a little over a year after Tom Hanks became one of the first major celebrities to reveal he’d contracted covid-19, and Sapochnik said that the events of the real world definitely ended up shaping the arc of the new film. But rather than trying to “club an audience” with direct parallels between Finch and our reality, Sapochnik said that his goal was always to make a story about a family on a road trip. “The sci-fi is incidental,” Sapochnik said of Finch. “We realized you didn’t need the world turned completely upside down for it to feel very close to home. The problem with making post-apocalyptic movies is we’re getting closer and closer to the truth and that’s kind of terrifying, you know?”
Finch is slated to hit Apple TV+ on November 5.
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