Jared Harris (The Crown, Chernobyl) stars in Apple TV +'s highly anticipated Foundation as Dr. Hari Seldon. The son of acting royalty Richard Harris (Camelot, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone), has carved out an impressive career as one of the finest character actors working today. Known for elevating the story with intimate portrayals of complex characters such as Lane Pryce in Mad Men, Francis Crozier in The Terror, and King George VI in The Crown, Foundation's Hari Seldon looks to be another standout performance in contemporary TV drama. The fate of an entire galaxy rests on the beliefs of this one man. Will his conviction save humanity or doom it? Based on the award-winning novels by Isaac Asimov, Foundation chronicles a band of exiles on their monumental journey to save humanity and rebuild civilization amid the fall of the Galactic Empire. Recently Harris sat down for a quick chat with Bleeding Cool's Jimmy Leszczynski about how he relates to this character and what Hari's plan is to save humanity.
I'd like to know how familiar you were with the original Isaac Asimov story.
Jared Harris: I hadn't read it when I was pitched the show and read the first two episodes after I signed on. I went and then read the books in chronological order so that I was aware of all the story up to the point in time that I was then going to be inhabiting Hari.
Without giving away too much, can you describe Hari's plan a little bit?
JH: Hari's plan is, essentially, that there is an inevitable cataclysmic event that's going to come. It's that the Empire is going to collapse upon itself, and it's going to take everybody down with it. Hari's plan is that we have to prepare for this. It's unavoidable. But if we can give out the survivors the tools, they will be able to come out of it with our history of the human story across all its multifaceted ways and different dimensions and cultures across the galaxy that will all be maintained intact, and they will have the tools to survive. They won't start all the way back to the beginning at scratch with flint tools and thighbones.
It seems like something we should be working on currently. What aspects of Hari do you relate with the most? Are you a mathematician?
JH: I'm interested in history. I'm a history buff. Obviously, as an actor, you have a pseudo layman's interest in psychology as well. We're involved in a very sort of integral central position of all the projects we're in, but we're really outside of all of the decision-making processes. You can see things happening that maybe shouldn't or could go a different way. But you don't have a voice in that sense. I think that part of that frustration is also true in Hari's case, which is that they're not listening to him. They're not paying attention to the fact that they're not believing him if you like. But obviously, he has a lot bigger concerns than anything I've ever dealt with.
You can enjoy the full but very short interview here:
Based on the award-winning novels by Isaac Asimov, Foundation is a thrilling and emotional saga that chronicles a band of exiles on their monumental journey to save the fate of humanity amid the fall of the Galactic Empire. When revolutionary mathematician Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) predicts the impending demise of the Empire, he and his loyal followers venture to the far reaches of the galaxy to establish The Foundation in an attempt to rebuild and preserve the future of civilization. Enraged by Seldon's claims, the ruling Cleons — a long line of emperor clones — fear their unrivaled reign may be weakening as they become forced to reckon with the potential reality of losing their powerful legacy forever.
Foundation stars SAG Award winner and Emmy Award nominee Jared Harris as Dr. Hari Seldon; Emmy Award nominee Lee Pace as Brother Day; Lou Llobell as Gaal Dornick; Leah Harvey as Salvor Hardin; Laura Birn as Demerzel; Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk; Cassian Bilton as Brother Dawn; and Alfred Enoch as Raych.
Led by showrunner and executive producer David S. Goyer, Foundation is produced for Apple by Skydance Television with Robyn Asimov, Josh Friedman, Cameron Welsh, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross, also serving as executive producers.