Malta will be transformed into an alien water world in Apple TV’s latest production of Isaac Asimov’s legendary science fiction novel, Foundation.
The highly-anticipated series has begun filming at the Malta Film Studio, making use of the island’s massive water tanks, with filming also taking place in various other locations around the island, including Fort Manoel.
In addition to using the island’s unique facilities, the masterminds behind the Apple TV series, writer and showrunner David Goyer and producer Michael Malone, spoke about how the island will actually feature as a water world in the Foundation universe.
“Malta was always part of the plan. We have a water planet and Malta has copious water tanks – there aren’t a lot of those in the world,” he said.
“One of the major sequences in the series has to do with a lot of water scenes and we always thought about Malta as our primary go-to,” Malone said.
As was the case with most productions in 2020, the filming of Foundation was forced to shut down for a number of months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the unprecedented circumstances meant that Malta has taken on a bigger role in bringing the series to life.
“We decided to expand our footprint in Malta and now some of the locations here are representative of another world in the Foundation show as well,” Goyer said.
Foundation is a science fiction novel written by Isaac Asimov published in the 1950s chronicling a band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it.
The novel series is considered a pioneer in the genre of science fiction and won Best All-Time Series in 1966. It was also the main source of inspiration for blockbuster films Star Wars and other subsequent science fiction material.
“I think there’s definitely a resurgence in the sci-fi genre,” Goyer continued.
“Typically what happens when times are tough, people look to the genre for a form of escapism. We are also seeing the advent of online streaming. The audience is changing the way we are consuming stories. Game Of Thrones is really the first of these giant, novelistic shows.”
Parts of the first season of HBO’s hit series Game Of Thrones was also filmed in Malta, making use of the island’s rugged landscape as a backdrop for a number of iconic scenes.
“Our experience here in Malta has been flawless. The production value we have gotten is exceptional. We haven’t had a single delay, a single shut down because of the coronavirus hurdles,” Goyer said.
Speaking at the press conference, Film Commissioner Johann Grech attributed the success of Foundation to the resilience Malta has shown throughout the pandemic.
“The first time that Apple TV is producing a show in Malta. It has created a lot of jobs for our film industry,” he said. “We showed once again that Malta is resilient, especially during these tough times. However, the film industry kept working and we’ve been quite back-to-back with productions starting with Jurassic World.”
Foundation is expected to be released in Autumn, 2021, exclusive to Apple TV, with season one containing a total of 10 episodes. The ambition is to make Malta a go-to shooting destination for the show along its 80 episode tenure.
“We want to strengthen our relationship with Foundation so that it’s not just for one season, but for more seasons to come to the island,” he said.
The Malta Film Studio is also currently in the process of building two world-class sound stages at its premise worth €35 million to bring bigger production to its shores.
For now, Foundation is the industry’s main focus, with another week of filming expected to take place around the island.
While the epic sci-fi novel doesn’t have any direct links to Malta, Goyer does see the Mediterranean landscape fitting for the history and lore of one of the show’s protagonists.
“Lou Llobell, who plays Gaal Dornick, Gaal comes from a water world and she herself is very comfortable in the water, her father is an amateur spear-fisherman. We’ve been filming two weeks with her in the water tank and under the water. Surely, Lou/Gaal is probably the one most comfortable in Malta,” he said.
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