Foundation Director Roxann Dawson Breaks Down That Big Battle And Demerzel’s Reveal [Exclusive Interview]


I also know that you did two episodes in season 1 and they were also the eighth and ninth episodes. Was that a coincidence for season 2 that you had that slot again, or was that something done on purpose?

I think that was coincidence, really. I was around for almost all of it because I was doing some re-shoots earlier on, so I was around for a lot of it, but I think it was coincidence.

And how did you end up doing the eighth and ninth episodes for season 2? Is that something you talked about with [showrunner David S. Goyer]?

No, when season 2 was picked up, he offered the same sort of time slot and it worked with my schedule, so it just kind of fell in. Unless you ask David, maybe he had something in his head, but I do have to say that I was so honored because there was a very special episode with Demerzel, and being able to tell her past. And I don’t know if David ever had that in mind for me to do, but when I read the script, I was so grateful that I was given that honor to do that mini-movie in that episode.

In episode 8, the execution scene was very compelling and I imagine tricky in a lot of ways, because you have the execution happen on Trantor, but then you have shots to all around the galaxy where different parties are watching and witnessing it. When you were shooting all those different scenes in different locations, how did you keep things cohesive in your head when you were filming?

Yeah, they were not only on different days, they were in different countries and weeks apart. When you have sequences like that, I think the best thing to do is storyboard, so you know exactly the kind of frame you need. And even, there were a couple of them where I hadn’t even visited the location yet, but I knew the idea of where I needed them to be looking or what I would need from that. But there were times where there’s a blank spot and you don’t even know how that’s going to be, but you know what you want from it. That’s the most important thing: How it needs to cut into the whole.

When we first found that location [for the execution], I was a little bit disturbed because it was basically like a parking lot outside. It has an interesting shape to it, but other than that, when you get out there with the blistering sun, and have to have all these people somehow build a stage and create all this stuff in basically a vacuum. There was nothing there. And I was at first disappointed and perplexed as to how to make it happen. 

Then gradually, through many, many conversations and meetings with the production designer and with David, we started to come up with a plan. I still remember drawing a potential plan with stick figures out on a piece of paper. And then, gradually, the sets were starting to be built, and I said, “I’d love for them to come out into the audience,” so they were wrapped around.

So you begin to discuss all of these things and all of a sudden you go, “Okay, we can do this.” The thing on the day was to manage the sun. When you’re in an open space where the sun is moving constantly, you can only be shooting in certain directions for a certain amount of time. So once we had the whole thing formed, we had to then chop it up to the best time of day. So we would shoot this section, and then we would shoot a section that was way down the line, and then come back and shoot this because we had to basically chase the sun as it was moving through the very open area and plot it so we could shoot it on time and on budget. And that was definitely an accomplishment that I think we all felt very good about at the end. We got it. And it was definitely, it was a challenge.

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