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Sam Esmail’s ‘Metropolis’ TV Series Will Bring New Spin to Fritz Lang’s Classic

The Apple TV+ series, based on Fritz Lang's legendary silent film, will be the largest TV production ever filmed in Australia.



Courtesy Everett Collection

Hot off a Best Picture win for “CODA” and a blockbuster TV drama in “Severance,” Apple TV+ is plotting its most ambitious project yet: an epic eight-part television adaption of “Metropolis” from “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail.

Fritz Lang’s original “Metropolis” is one of the most influential films in cinematic history. The silent film, which tells the story of a futuristic dystopia with a massive class divide, was one of the first feature length science fiction films ever made, as well as a quintessential example of the German Expressionism movement.

Any remake of the film will inevitably be subject to massive scrutiny, as many cinephiles will find it hard to imagine a remake topping the original. But it sounds like Esmail and Apple are up to the task, as they are currently plotting a massive production in Australia (via Variety) that is set to utilize “virtual production,” the cutting edge film technology currently being deployed by shows like “The Mandalorian.”

The Victoria state government in Australia is building a new state-of-the-art soundstage for the series, which will feature one of the world’s largest LED volumes, a massive digital screen that can display backgrounds and special effects. Rather than filming in front of a green screen and adding effects in later, this allows productions to create virtual sets while still allowing actors to interact with them on set. The technology represents something of a happy medium between CGI technology and practical effects, and could eventually represent the gold standard of blockbuster filmmaking moving forward.

The virtual production studio, which is being built by Victoria film organization VicScreen, will be designed specifically for “Metropolis” but will remain in place for future productions to use afterwards.

VicScreen CEO Caroline Pitcher said: “‘Metropolis’ is set to be one of the most technically ambitious screen productions in the world, and the state-of-the-art infrastructure being built right here, along with our outstanding crew and locations, truly places Melbourne as amongst the world’s great screen production cities.”

While plot details for the “Metropolis” series are being kept under wraps, Esmail is expected to write and direct all eight episodes himself. No release date has been announced.

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