Exclusive Video Interview: Invasion Director Alik Sakharov Dials Up the Action in Season Two

Alik SakharovAt long last, Invasion is back! Fans of the sci-fi drama have waited two long years for the show’s second season, which debuted this week exclusively on Apple TV+. Ten new episodes will drop each Wednesday until the season finale on October 25.

And by all accounts, it was worth the wait. After a first season built around the character development, season two dials up the action. We rejoin the survivors four months later, as the reality of the alien invasion has set in, and humanity begins to fight back. Trevante, Aneesha, Mitsuki, Casper and Jamila are still scattered around the globe, still experiencing the invasion in very different ways, but across the ten episodes viewers will see a more complete picture of the aliens and their capabilities.

Just before the season premiere, SciFi Vision spoke with director Alik Sakharov, who helmed four of the first five episodes (201,202, 203 and 205). Anyone who has watched premium cable or streaming in the last 15 years knows Alik Sakharov’s work as a director of photography on HBO’s Rome, Game of Thrones and an incredible 38 episodes of The Sopranos. He has also directed many episodes of Thrones, the Starz hit Black Sails, Netflix’s House of Cards and The Witcher, and Hulu’s Ozark, for which he received an Emmy nomination.

InvasionWe started with an easy question. GoT aside, Sakharov is not a fixture in sci-fi/fantasy TV, so what drew him to Invasion? “Great, dramatic storytelling,” of course. “It's really good, character driven drama,” he explained, “and so it's not really that all the different, to be honest with you. Once it's character driven drama, then in the background of sci-fi, it doesn't feel that different.”

The director is excited for viewers to see where the story goes. While season one was about each character’s individual experience, Sakharov’s episodes include what he calls “an element of propulsion” as human response and resistance take shape.

“There is an element of universality; everyone can relate to what's going on. It's a war out there, and we need to survive, and we need to unite; we need to create a unified front. Whether or not we're successful at creating a unified front, let's watch it and find out in season two. “

The early episodes follow the characters across six countries, but, Sakharov told us, most of the show was shot in one location.

“We shot the UK portion in the UK,” Sakharov told us. “Then, the rest of the story was shot in South Africa, in Cape Town, and in which we needed to find locations that would look like British Columbia, like Oklahoma, like Brazil and Miami. So, we were able to actually find all the locations in Cape Town. And I have to credit Simon Rogers, our production designer, who was able to narrow it all down with the locations team and find great locations. We were blessed to find everything we needed to find in one specific place.”

In our wide-ranging interview, Sakharov spoke at length about how his training and experience as a cinematographer influenced his work as a director, and how he sets up each shot to reflect the scene’s emotion. He also talked about how he works with Invasion’s terrific tween and teen actors, who do solid work this season in intensely emotional scenes along with frightening lien encounters. Watch the spoiler-free video below!

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