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There is something special in the way Jared Harris sits in a chair in Foundation

  • "It’s something about the posture, and particularly his legs," says Robert Lloyd of Harris sitting in a chair near the end of the first episode of his Apple TV+ series. "Harris, as (Hari) Seldon, is slung low in his chair, with his legs shot straight out before him in a way that feels unlike anything I can remember seeing in science fiction. It’s ordinary enough, but it steers the ship in a new direction. His head rests lightly on his left hand, a finger on his temple. He scratches his ear; he scratches his beard. He is not doing anything apparently big in this scene, which follows a more standard Trial Before the Emperors (a trinity of clones in this retelling), and yet he is doing quite a lot. Seldon is not a hero in the usual sense; he’s got no moral beef with the Empire, though it is just the sort of outfit your typical sci-fi hero would naturally rebel against. He’s just a scientist, a man with a plan. His posture seems meant to communicate the fact that he’s not worried — he’s done the math — and his apparent relaxation is in itself an expression of control. (There may be a performance element in that as well; Seldon knows they’re being watched.) It’s a picture of authority not quite at rest, the way a cat may be asleep and awake, present and not present at once. What it is, of course, is acting, that most magical of crafts. (There are many good actors in the series, and Harris is not around for much of it.) He does not merely sit, of course. He stands, he walks, he speaks in his extremely pleasing Jared Harris voice. He does many things with his face that say much without showing much. The way he sits in this scene is a choice, maybe unconscious, maybe just the incidental product of years worth of stepping into characters."


    • Can Jared Harris have a nice time on TV for once?: "You don’t have to understand much of what happens in Foundation — and to be clear, I do not — to know that Jared Harris’s character is not going to have an easy go of it," says Jackson McHenry. "AppleTV+’s big, interplanetary adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s series of novels skips between several timelines, but a crucial one centers on the travails of Harris’s character, Hari Seldon, a man who has developed a theory of 'psychohistory' through which he can predict the movements of masses of people, and thus the future of humanity. Because he is played by Jared Harris, he projects an air of quiet authority. Because he is played by Jared Harris, you know things are not going to end well for him. Because things never go well for Jared Harris on TV. The very serious, very British, very sad man cannot catch a break."
    • Jared Harris is Hollywood's most familiar and underrated actor: "The main hurdle for the new series is buy-in," says Miles Surrey. "For Foundation to really click, Hari Seldon needs to pop off the screen—he is, after all, trying to convince an entire galaxy and its egomaniac emperor of their imminent doom using mathematical concepts that barely anyone understands. Thankfully, they have the right man for the task—someone who has a commanding presence over a room, even when discussing the driest possible subject matter. That would be Jared Harris, an actor who just a couple of years ago delivered a riveting monologue in the finale of HBO’s acclaimed miniseries Chernobyl in which his character explained how a nuclear reactor works with a bunch of red and blue placards in a courtroom. Somehow, this glorified TED Talk turned into can’t-miss TV. Such is the power of one of Hollywood’s most familiar and underrated character actors. Harris is the son of Oscar-nominated actor Richard Harris—an actor known for his appearance in the first two Harry Potter films as Albus Dumbledore before his passing, but also for his hell-raising lifestyle in the ’70s—but he doesn’t have the same boisterous aura as his father. Rather, he specializes in the kind of moody, understated everymen who become burdened by overwhelming responsibilities. With that in mind, predicting a galactic doomsday scenario or investigating a nuclear plant explosion in Ukraine is very much in Harris’s wheelhouse."
    • Foundation co-creator David S. Goyer is intent on doing eight seasons: “I don’t wanna jinx myself, but Apple knew that this was a big undertaking and they wanted to make sure that I was writing towards something," he says. "They asked me the same question, they said, ‘In a perfect world, how many seasons do you have in mind?’ and I said, ‘Eight.’ They said, ‘Can you take us through all eight (seasons)?’ and over the course of about two hours I did take them through all eight [seasons], so hopefully we’ll get there. We’ll see.”
    • Alfred Enoch discusses his complicated role in Foundation
    • Before he was approached for Foundation, Lee Pace was convinced Isaac Asimov's work was unadaptable for TV

    TOPICS: Jared Harris, Apple TV+, Foundation, Alfred Enoch, Lee Pace