Finch director Miguel Sapochnik talks about bringing doomsday adventure to life

Movie buffs have seen doomsday adventures unfold in a variety of ways, with some leaning into the horror inherent in the concept while others embracing the science in hopes of serving as a warning to viewers while others simply kissing. dystopian iconography for an action-packed experience. With Bullfinch, director Miguel Sapochnik emphasizes the dramatic and emotionally human side of the realities of such situations, telling the story of a man (Tom Hanks) simply wanting to keep the thing that matters most to him safe. Bullfinch will start streaming on Apple TV + starting Friday, November 5.

“I think it was really important to pay attention to the potential for optimism and hope in this film,” Sapochnik explained at a press event that attended. “At any point it’s a tough call to make a post-apocalyptic movie, but in particular it just got harder and harder as we were doing this movie before the pandemic, and then we had to shut down right before we finished it. , and then come save after the first lockdown in Los Angeles to finish the movie. So while the pandemic didn’t influence our movie, it really gave it context and relevance that we couldn’t really have imagined. Finding hope, I think, was a really, really important part. I’ve always loved the saying “hope is what keeps us alive.” One of the things we strive to do is to finding that balance properly. It was like making sure we started with a clear lack of hope because you need the trip. “

He continued, “And we also used the dog to really embody the idea of ​​hope, although that wasn’t immediately apparent I think throughout the story. Finch’s explanation of how he stumbled upon Goodyear starts to make you realize that this dog … it’s just the relationship he has with the dog, but the dog means something to him, and means a whole lot of things to Finch … let’s say, to make sure the movie wasn’t too dark. I have to say that I find dark relatively easy to do. I find dark relatively easy to do. It’s kind of it’s in my wheelhouse. C ‘It’s comfortable, I feel comfortable doing it. But the hope, optimism and lightness is definitely a challenge, and I think a lot harder for me than I thought. “

In Bullfinch, a man, a robot and a dog make an unlikely family on a powerful and moving adventure of a man’s quest to ensure that his beloved canine companion will be cared for after he leaves. Tom Hanks plays Finch, a robotics engineer and one of the few survivors of a cataclysmic solar event that left the world fallow. But Finch, who has lived in an underground bunker for a decade, has built his own world which he shares with his dog, Goodyear. He creates a robot, played by Caleb Landry Jones, to watch over Goodyear when he can’t anymore. As the trio embark on a perilous journey through a desolate American West, Finch strives to show his creation, who is named Jeff, the joy and wonder of what it means to be alive. Their road trip is paved with both challenge and humor, as it’s as difficult for Finch to get Jeff and Goodyear to get along as it is for him to deal with the dangers of the new world.

Given that he would ultimately be a CGI creation in the movie itself, Sapochnik then went into detail about how the most difficult part of the project was to develop the appearance of the robot.

“I think we probably spent more time designing Jeff than any other aspect of the film other than the script,” the filmmaker explained. “I used to spend my Sundays while I was doing season 8 on [Game of Thrones] during a Zoom call with Tom Meyer, who is a production designer, going over all the different iterations the concept artists had worked on. I made my own scribbles and drawings, and Tom did too. So we really spent a lot of time trying to figure out, what were we looking for? Because I think we started off with a probably very fuzzy idea of ​​what we wanted Jeff to be, and it has more to do with his character evolving organically through the research process, so it lasted. a good year and a half, I would say, maybe longer. “

He added, “And then once we got Caleb started, Caleb wasn’t involved in designing Jeff from an aesthetic and visual standpoint, but everything Jeff, the character was initiated into and brought to life by Caleb. I mean, Caleb really took Jeff to a whole new level and we spent a lot of time just being in awe of the way he approached him. Everything from the voice that starts out like this. Speak and spell voice and becomes that weird Slavic accent, and then finally ends up in that sluggish Texan, nervous fingers and stuff. That’s all Caleb. “

Jeff wasn’t just the unconventional character in the story who had to carry dramatic weight, with the dog Goodyear also responsible for some of the film’s most touching sequences.

“The interesting thing about Shamus, who played Goodyear, is that Shamus was a rescue dog that Mark Forbes, his trainer, took in, I think he was trained to some level, that’s as I understand it, “Sapochnik recalled. “But it wasn’t until we picked Shamus as Goodyear in our movie that Mark really focused on the skills we would need from the dog. And the irony for us is that we quickly realized In the scriptwriting process, we have to be very careful not to anthropomorphize the dog and really let the dog be just a dog in order to really have a chance of hitting the right note and the right tone. As a result, we really got that … Sometimes he smelled bad, he was as “doggy” as you can imagine, but he had really big eyebrows and they were very, very expressive.

He pointed out, “He always seemed a little disinterested in what was going on. He didn’t… He enjoyed receiving hugs from the crew. We did everything we could to make sure he had a good time. good experience, which seemed like a very important part of the process. We didn’t want to exploit this dog in any way. Then you would turn the camera on him and say, “Let’s do a take”, and everyone would settle down. in this lightly … We all sigh and say, “Okay, let’s go, this is the” don’t work with dogs and kids “song. We turned the camera and it came to life. And if it was just him, he had so many natural things up his sleeve and everything would be… Everything was being controlled by Mark Forbes being just offscreen and he had a little whistle and little clicker. “

“It was really weird and quite fascinating to see the dog react to these different sounds and then take those reactions, put them into the edit and find the appropriate response to the actors,” the director explained. “So that you would end up believing that the dog was the one that reacted in this very specific way to the actors and their requests, or their questions, or their voices. So it was very fabricated on the one hand and, at the same time, time, there was something terribly organic about the process. “

Bullfinch will start streaming on Apple TV + starting Friday, November 5.

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