“Metropolis,” Apple TV+’s epic-scale series inspired by Fritz Lang’s classic silent era sci-fi film, is set to be produced in Australia. It is expected to make extensive use of a new ‘virtual production’ structure that is among the largest in the world.
“Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail is writer, director and showrunner of the eight-part project. It is being produced by NBCUniversal’s Universal Studio Group.
The story takes place in the futuristic city of Metropolis. While the city’s wealthy elite enjoy a lavish life of comfort and ease in penthouses and pleasure gardens, scores of workers labor at dangerous machinery in the bowels of the city to keep everything running. Freder Fredersen, the son of the most powerful man in Metropolis, has an awakening after meeting a young worker named Maria and witnessing a number of workers die in an industrial accident.
The project has been approved to receive grant funding from the Victorian Screen Incentive, administered by VicScreen, the screen industry support body in Victoria State. It will likely be eligible for federal production incentives that are administered by Screen Australia.
The Victoria state government is additionally backing “Metropolis” by supporting the building of state-of-the-art virtual production infrastructure, including one of the largest permanent ‘LED volumes’ – high-tech digital screens that display background environments and visual effects on set.
Such virtual production techniques were used on “Star Wars” spin-off series, “The Mandalorian” and infrastructure is being established in production hubs around the world. Following use by “Metropolis,” the Victoria LED space will remain in place for use by other international productions and for local films and series.
VicScreen said that “Metropolis” is the first in a pipeline of projects from NBCU, which is expected to inject A$416 million ($xxx million) directly into the Victorian economy over a number of years.
“Metropolis” alone is expected to create 3,980 local jobs, including 500 Victoria cast and crew and over 2,400 extras. Some 600 Victoria businesses and service providers will benefit from the local production.?
“This latest pipeline of projects, as well as the investment in infrastructure and training, will position Australia for a decade of high-end work in virtual production driven film and television shows,” said Matt Vitins, chief operating officer of Matchbox Pictures, who will be managing production services on the project.
Caroline Pitcher, CEO of VicScreen 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.”
NBCU’s “La Brea” and “Clickbait” series were filmed in Victoria. Sci-fi drama “Foe,” directed by Garth Davis and starring Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal, has recently wrapped. Local director Michael Gracey is currently gearing up to film Robbie Williams’ biopic “Better Man” in the state.