Miguel Sapochnik (‘Finch’ director) on his ‘partnership’ with Tom Hanks and creating a futuristic American West [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“I found the script had a remarkable lack of sentimentality,” says Emmy-winning director Miguel Sapochnik while discussing his film “Finch,” an AppleTV+ original starring Oscar winner Tom Hanks that premieres on November 5. “That was surprising because I kept expecting it to fall into the soppy world of ‘I love you, no I love you,’ but it didn’t. It somehow managed to hold its own.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.

“It was written by Craig Luck and Ivor Powell, and Ivor is an old friend of mine who gave me my break in commercials,” Sapochnik reveals. “We’ve been wanting to make a movie together for a long time. We’ve written many movies together and we hadn’t really had the opportunity. Suddenly the stars aligned and here was this movie. The idea of doing something that was the antithesis of what I had been doing over the last three or four years was a great pull. And I like dogs.”

In “Finch,” Hanks plays the titular character, a robotics engineer who is one of the few survivors of a cataclysmic event that has left the world a barren wasteland. In an effort to ensure his beloved dog Goodyear will be cared for if anything should happen to Finch himself, he builds a robot named Jeff before the trio embarks on a journey into the desolate American West.

“It was a pleasure,” Sapochnik says of working with Hanks. “He’s extremely professional. He’s extremely good at what he does. He’s very collaborative. He would call the movie ‘our movie,’ he still does. It’s a small thing, but it makes a big difference if you’re an aspiring filmmaker and you have somebody that’s had that much experience and can clearly do anything that he wants and he chooses to work with you on a project that you’ve been on for years. Getting to work with him and feeling like we were a partnership was great.”

Throughout much of the film Finch is engaging with his robot Jeff, played by SAG Award winner Caleb Landry Jones (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”). “Jeff was an entirely CG animated character,” Sapochnik explains. “Tom and Caleb were in every single scene together. Caleb was dressed in a suit that looked vaguely like Jeff and that allowed Tom to have real scenes, really interact and for us to film it in a way that it was a family drama rather than science-fiction movie. Later on we would digitally remove Caleb and replace him with this proxy of an animated digital robot.”

Sapochnik has won two Emmy Awards as both a director and producer on the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” Hanks is a six-time Oscar nominee who won twice for his roles in “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump.” “Finch” also introduces audiences to Seamus, a rescued dog making his film debut as Goodyear. “The dog had a line of people waiting to give him hugs when he walked off the set,” Sapochnik says. “You would put the camera on him and…one take every time. He would just come alive. This experience was great.”

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