Was Sam Esmail’s ‘Metropolis’ TV series being scrapped during the strike heartbreaking?

Sam Esmail’s adaptation of the classic 1927 sci-fi film “Metropolis” became one of the casualties of the 2023 Hollywood strikes. The series, which had been prepping in Australia with a partial cast set, was cancelled by the UCP studio due to the WGA work stoppage. Esmail, who has been under an overall deal with the studio, shared his reaction on the red carpet for his upcoming Netflix movie “Leave the World Behind.”

On the cancellation, Esmail said, “Obviously, it was heartbreaking. But during the strike, we all understood. And I got to work with a lot of talented people out in Australia, where we were mounting the production. It was a really good experience, and I don’t regret it for a second.”

Production drafts of the scripts for the special effects-heavy series had not been finished before the start of the writers’ strike. This led to delays in setting budgets and other key elements of pre-production, and after seven weeks of limbo, the UCP studio decided not to proceed with the series due to the costs and uncertainty related to the ongoing strike.

The series was set to be filmed in the state of Victoria, where it was projected to create nearly 4,000 jobs. It would have made use of one of the world’s largest ‘virtual production’ infrastructures. “Metropolis” had been a passion project for Esmail, who had been working on it for more than seven years as the writer, director, and executive producer.

As for the future of “Metropolis,” Esmail said, “As of right now, it’s officially over but it’s Hollywood, who knows?”


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