Apple TV+’s Invasion Season 2: Alik Sakharov on Why He Joined as Director

John Nguyen

Apple TV+ is premiering its second season of Invasion this Wednesday, and in the series’ first season, we follow different people from all around the world as they deal with an alien invasion and also their loved ones. The second season follows the same people as they try to live a “normal” life during all the chaos. Trevante Cole is hanging out at a BBQ, Aneesha Malik and her kids are busy trying to survive in the wild, and Mitsuki Yamato is teaming up with other brilliant minds to figure out a way to stop the alien threat.

Nerd Reactor had the chance to chat with Alik Sakharov, who directed episodes 1, 2, 3, and 5 of Apple TV+’s Invasion season two. Topics included challenges in filming the hectic first episode, what attracted him to direct episodes of the second season and more.

Check out the video interview below:

Alik Sakharov has been involved in many different TV projects as a director including Game of Thrones, Rome, Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Black Sails, Marco Polo, House of Cards, Ozark, The Witcher and The Sopranos. Invasion marks his first sci-fi TV project, and he discusses whether there is a difference between his previous work and the new show from Apple TV+ and why the universal appeal of the show is attractive to him.

“Actually, it’s not very different,” Alik Sakharov tells Nerd Reactor. “I mean, yeah, obviously, it’s different because it’s sci-fi. But look, this sci-fi is drama. It is a character-based drama in that Invasion actually felt very much still at home to me. Because you’re working with actors, you’re setting up dramatic points, and you’re trying to convey whatever they’re going through.

“We have a universal appeal to things. For instance, let’s say the Malik family is on the run, mother and two kids in the background of what’s going on – the alien invasion. There’s a universal theme there. We understand what the mother is doing. She’s protecting her kids. Trevante Cole trying to fight the good fight as a soldier. We understand the universal appeal there. We know what that is. Jamila realized that Casper is still around, so she needs to rally up the troops, so to speak, and go and find them. There’s a universal appeal that we understand what’s going on. Mitsuki, she’s still mourning the loss of her love. We understand where the loss is. So in a backdrop of this huge scopey canvas, you have very simple dramatic development, which gets deeper and deeper.”

The first episode of season 2 starts off with a bang with the aliens attacking the populated cit of Osaka. Sakharov talks about the challenges of directing that and also trying to set up and locate spots in general.

“It was challenging too, I won’t lie,” the director said. “On the page when I read it, it was incredibly energetic. It was a go, go, go, go kind of thing. And so Simon had a very interesting idea, and he used the word propulsion to keep moving forward, keep thrusting forward. And so it kind of dictated its own set energy right off the bat. You basically are coming into this episode on the go, go, go. So the first thing that needed to be found was a location, a location that was basically geography of which was basically a street falls into another street, into another street and another street. So basically, you need to find something compact, something that we could wait, shoot, dress everything, and put special visual effects in it. And also visual effects, and physical effects.

“And once we found that little area, it was in Woodstock in Cape Town, South Africa. Simon Rogers was our production designer who gave me concept art, in which he proposed that he was going to turn these four or five small streets into what would Osaka look like. And it was very convincing. Once I understood what he was going to do, I needed to break it down into elements and into the shots into small little segments, which we did. Then I presented it to our stunt coordinator, and he was able to bring in his stunt people, and we set the action in place and shot a little bit of a previz to understand how it was going to work. And when we realized that it was going to work really rather well. Then it became very easy to shoot.”

About Invasion

The series is created by showrunners Simon Kinberg (Star Wars Rebels) and David Weil. The second season contains ten episodes and will run from Wednesday through October 25, 2023.

Synopsis: “The action-packed second season of “Invasion” picks up just months later with the aliens escalating their attacks in an all-out war against the humans. The trailer gives a suspenseful sneak peek into the new season, as aliens and destruction abound, answers are relentlessly pursued and the fight for the world’s survival continues.”

The series stars Golshifteh Farahani, Shioli Kutsuna, Shamier Anderson, India Brown, Billy Barratt, Azhy Robertson, Paddy Holland and Tara Moayedi. New series regulars joining season two include Enver Gjokaj, Nedra Marie Taylor and Naian González Norvind.

“Invasion” is produced for Apple TV+ by Boat Rocker. In addition to series creators Simon Kinberg & David Weil, Audrey Chon, David Witz, Alik Sakharov, Andrew Baldwin and Katie O’Connell Marsh serve as executive producers.

Featured image courtesy of Apple TV+