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Sam Esmail’s Canceled Metropolis


I’m a big Sam Esmail fan. I loved Mr. Robot and the first season of Homecoming.


Even when Mr. Robot played tricks that I don’t think a narrative should play—withholding key pieces of information about who is who and what is real—I thought his direction was consistently excellent.


His shooting style is also a rare thing in this day and age of “mature” film technique: original.


He does these weird things with negative space, and framing actors with their heads on the “wrong” side of the frame for the way they are facing—it’s just really cool.


His abundant talent has made him a legitimate, big-time creator—so this morning, it was a shock to see the news in Deadline: his Apple TV miniseries of Metropolis (based on the classic sci-fi) has been canceled.


It was funny (definitely not “ha-ha funny”) because a while back I was looking at material soon to enter public domain and thought, what about Metropolis?


But clearly he was on it a long time ago: this project was seven years in the making.


And now, it’s gone.


I truly feel so bad for him, his cast and crew, and all the people who were being employed in Australia to make this—it was going to create 4,000 jobs, per Deadline.


And it just goes to show how ruthless and demanding and brutal this business can be.


Yes, the current WGA strike played a part in this: the scripts weren’t written in time, and the studio evidently decided they couldn’t keep on spending all the money on preproduction without knowing when they could actually produce the show.


It must have been the most devastating nightmare for Esmail and his team to know several months ago that this was a distinct possibility, and watch it inevitably play out.


Truly, nobody is safe—ever.


And it’s a huge loss to us, who will never get to see it.


Shocking, and terrible.

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