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The Apple TV+ movie Finch is a post-apocalyptic feature about a man (Tom Hanks) who tries to keep himself and his dog alive on a barely livable Earth by creating a sentient robot (Caleb Landry Jones) to help them.
Despite the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it premise and the global scale of destruction, Finch is in many ways a small movie, one that revolves around the relationships between the three central characters (even though only one of them is human).
SYFY WIRE interviewed Finch director Miguel Sapochnik about making the film, including how he created those small moments in such a vast post-apocalyptic world and what it was like to see Tom Hanks get angry.
Sapochnik, whose previous credits include the movie Repo Man as well as several Game of Thrones episodes including the epic "Battle of the Bastards," "Hardhome," and "The Long Night," looked to balance the enormity of what had happened to the planet with the intimate relationships between the three main characters.
Getting that balance right is something he learned in his previous work on Game of Thrones. "One of the big issues is the scope, how the spectacle drowns everything else out," he explained to SYFY WIRE. "What I try to do in any big battle scene is I break it down into pieces, bite-sized chunks or things that I can digest … I try to ask myself the question — 'Whose story is it? Whose point of view is it?' And in that way, I frame out all of the battle and get to the personal story. In 'Battle of the Bastards,' for me it was Jon's journey into the heart of darkness. In 'Hardhome,' it was Jon Snow again — Jon valiantly tries to save the Wildlings and fails. These single sentences, in a way, allow me to then keep true to the spine of the story."
The learnings from these grim Game of Thrones episodes applied to his latest feature film. "It's the same thing [in Finch] but without the battle, or maybe the battle is being replaced with this post-apocalyptic landscape," Sapochnik said. "So it's not so different a filmmaking muscle in that sense than when you're doing one of those really big sequences."
Some of those small moments in this post-apocalyptic world involve Hanks' character being less than nice to the young robot, Jeff.
"It's like watching your dad get angry," he said about Hanks' performance in one scene where he loses it with his robot. "I remember the sound of him telling Jeff to shut up... everybody was a bit frozen," Sapochnik recalled. "It's like the head teacher had got angry and we were just all like, 'Don't move.'"
Sapochnik went on to praise Hanks for his performance, however, even when his performance was appropriately scary. "I think you can easily cast him as being a good guy, but he's got the range," he said about the star. "He can go to dark places."
Finch, starring Tom Hanks, a robot, and one good doggo, premieres on Apple TV+ and in theaters on Nov. 5.