Apple’s Epic ‘Foundation’ Series Set to Become Biggest Film Project in Ireland’s History

Asimov Foundation trilogy artwork Credit: Futurilla / Flickr
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Among the most interesting Apple TV+ projects that we’ve heard about in the past few years is an extremely ambitious series based on Isaac Asimov’s venerable Foundation sci-fi trilogy, and now it looks like it’s set to begin filming in Ireland in the very near future.

We first heard that Apple would be tackling this project almost two years ago, but like many of the productions from the secretive company, things got pretty quiet after that, with little new information surfacing until last fall, when news broke that Apple had cast Jared Harris and Lee Pace to lead the new sci-fi drama series.

Now a new report today from Deadline reveals that the series will soon begin shooting in Ireland, and is in fact poised to become the largest-scale production to ever occur in that country. According to a press briefing held in Dublin today by Screen Ireland, the country’s national funding body for films, Apple’s production is expected to create more than 500 new jobs when it begins shooting at Troy Studios in Limerick.

Apple’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Moment?

Asimov’s Foundation is one of the most legendary science-fiction works ever written, and has in fact served as a sort of bedrock that has defined the entire modern science-fiction genre, inspiring everything from Star Wars to Star Trek, so it’s no exaggeration to stay that landing the rights to produce this series is a major coup for Apple — provided it can pull it off.

In fact, many believe that this could be Apple’s “Game of Thrones” moment, an epic sci-fi fantasy series that could help to solidly vault Apple TV+ into the same class as HBO — something that Apple is very clearly trying to do. Apple has already picked up rights to Masters of the Air, the third instalment of the Band of Brothers saga that was one of HBO’s earliest successes, which will be executive produced by no a team no less significant than Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.

However, as prestigious as Masters of the Air will be for Apple, Foundation will be in a class entirely by itself, since the story is absolutely massive in scope, covering the saga of exiled humans scattered across hundreds of worlds that are part of a massive Galactic Empire, over the course of thousands of years.

Many writers have tried — and failed — at translating the complex galaxy-sprawling saga onto the big screen, since there are so many layers involved. Even HBO couldn’t figure out how to develop it into a series, despite the talent of Interstellar co-writer and Westworld executive producer Jonathan Nolan, and it died on the table. In fact, until news appeared last fall that Apple had cast the leads for it, many wouldn’t have been surprised if it had failed to come together for Apple either.

The executive producer behind the new series will be David S. Goyer, who is best known for his work on the Terminator reboot, along with The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, and the Blade franchise. Jared Harris will star as the main protagonist in the story, Hari Seldon, a mathematical genius who predicts the demise of the Galactic Empire, while Lee Pace will play the role of Brother Day, the Emperor of the Galaxy.

In early December, Variety announced that Apple had added five more cast members as well, including Lou Llobell, Leah Harvey, Laura Birn, Terrence Mann, and Cassian Bilton. Llobell will star as Gaal, a mathematical genius from a rural, repressed planet, while Harvey will play Salvor, the protective and intuitive warden of a remove outer planet.

Laura Birn will take on the role of Demerzel, the enigmatic aide to the Emperor of the Galaxy, while Mann and Bilton will star as Brother Dusk and Brother Dawn, respectively the oldest and youngest members of the ruling Imperial family.

Apple is said to be striving to remain as faithful as it can to the format of Asimov’s works, which chronicle the tale of ”The Foundation,” the eponymous band of human exiles who are forced to defy the Galactic Empire in order to save it. With the series only set to begin filming in the coming weeks, there’s no word on when it may actually land on Apple TV+, although it could potentially be ready as a flagship entry for the service’s fall lineup.

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