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During a Hollywood Reporter interview about his upcoming postapocalyptic Apple movie Finch, the two-time Emmy winner took a couple of questions about his highly anticipated HBO fantasy drama, which is set roughly 200 years before the events in GoT.
THR asked Sapochink how the upcoming drama’s look, feel and tone will differ from the original series, which ran from 2011 to 2019 and ranked as HBO’s most popular program in its history and the most Emmy-winning primetime drama of all time.
“I think we were very respectful of what the original show is,” said Sapochnik, who directs multiple episodes of Dragon and also serves as showrunner along with series co-creator Ryan Condal. “It wasn’t broken, so we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. House of the Dragon has its own tone that will evolve and emerge over the course of the show. But first, it’s very important to pay respects and homage to the original series, which was pretty groundbreaking. We’re standing on the shoulders of that show and we’re only here because of that show. So the most important thing for us to do is to respect that show as much as possible and try and complement it rather than reinvent it. And I was involved in making the original show, so I feel like that’s been useful. Like, I’m not arriving going, ‘Let’s change everything! Let’s do a different color palette!’ No, I quite like the color palette.
“That said, we can’t say, ‘Well, when we did Thrones, we did it this way …'” he added. “If you start every sentence with that, you’ve lost. This is something else, and should be something else. It’s a different crew, different people, different tone. Hopefully, it will be seen as something else. But it will have to earn that — it won’t happen overnight. Hopefully, fans will enjoy it for the thing that it is. We’ll be lucky if we ever come close to what the original show was, so we’re just putting our heads down and getting on with it and hoping what we come up with is worthy of having a Game of Thrones title.”
Sapochnik directed many acclaimed episodes of Thrones — such as “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter” — but this marks his first time serving as showrunner. He noted the job switch was so challenging that it made directing seem easier.
“It’s a lot of work,” Sapochnik said. “It’s a pretty interesting shift. I’m producing other directors and getting involved in a lot of the minutiae. Directing feels really simple by comparison. I feel vaguely elated on my directing days because I don’t have to think about anything other than directing. I’ve also learned, as I learned on Finch, that it’s becoming more and more important to me as I’m getting older to work with people I like. The journey is the destination and if you can’t enjoy the journey, then the destination has so much less meaning. I’ve got a group of filmmakers on House of the Dragon I have a lot of fun working with. I’ve never had that level of repeat business of working with the same people again and again. The way I work with [GoT veterans] Fabian Wagner, my DP, and Tim Porter, my editor, we have fun and make jokes and we never used to have that. I can’t tell you how important that is. Because there’s not a lot of funny stuff going on in the world of Thrones, so it’s quite nice to spend time with people you enjoy spending time with.”
HBO will unleash Dragon in 2022. In the meantime, Finch marks Sapochnik’s most significant big-screen effort to date and stars Tom Hanks as possibly the last man on Earth, who undertakes a dangerous cross-country journey along with his beloved dog, Goodyear, and newly built android, Jeff. Check out Sapochnik’s full interview for his insight into making Finch and how the pandemic changed the course of its post-apocalyptic story.
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