Trading the halls of Hogwarts for the vastness of outer space, Alfred Enoch is currently amazing viewers in Apple TV +'s epic adaptation of Foundation as Raych Foss. Whether you're familiar with Enoch for portraying Dean Thomas in seven of the eight blockbuster Harry Potter films, or as Wes Gibbins on the ABC television series How to Get Away With Murder, you are sure to recognize his face as well as his talent. The fate of an entire galaxy rests on the beliefs of one man in Dr. Hari Seldon (Jared Harris). 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. Assisting Dr. Seldon in his monumental quest is Raych Foss. Bleeding Cool's Jimmy Leszczynski recently spoke with Enoch about how Raych fits into this story, his approach to the material, and whether Foundation should be considered a warning.
How familiar with the original 'Foundation' were you when you got the chance to read the script?
Alfred Enoch: Not at all. I came to it in blissful ignorance and discovered it on the page, discovered it through the scripts. It was nice to not have the weight of expectation that I might have had if I knew the stories and I knew a lot about them. With that knowledge would have come different possibilities. A different way of reading it, maybe. I thought the scripts were just fantastic. I mean, that was the first thing that jumped out at me. I thought they did such a good job of balancing the epic with the personal, and that was what really hooked me.
As Raych, what can you tell us about the role your character will be playing?
AE: Raych is Hari Sheldon's assistant, I suppose you could say, but perhaps not the conventional assistant. You would imagine for a highbrow academic, he's less mathematician and more a man of action. He fills an important role in Harry's life, professionally speaking, but also personally speaking, as a sort of father-son dynamic to their relationship.
What aspects of Raych do you relate with the most?
AE: Oh, goodness, I would love to say I relate very closely with him, but I find him impressive in a way that I maybe don't find myself. He's someone who's very committed to what he is doing and is someone who is not simply unquestioning. He's not just a thoughtless follower. He's engaging with what he's being asked to do and trying to make his own decisions. He's not sleepwalking through his responsibilities, through his life. I suppose I hope to be that way myself. We can, but try.
This might be a bit of a stretch, but how would you compare him to Dean Thomas?
AE: [Laughs] Oh, goodness, I don't know if I could. I think they're both quite tall. [They're both] played by me. Goodness. I'm sure students of the 'Harry Potter' universe who watch the show will be able to come up with a much more enlightened answer for you than that one. Sorry.
How would you describe the 'Foundation' story itself to somebody like yourself who isn't familiar with this story?
AE: I would say it's a story about people with very different opinions about how to do this, trying to save mankind, or at least the elements of mankind that are important to them. Everyone is trying to do their best in that respect. As ever in life, people have wildly different views about what that means and how to go about that. That's where the dramatic tension and all the juicy goodness come out.
Foundation has such a diverse cast featuring a lot of younger stars and a number of older, established stars. Did you get a chance to talk craft with Lee Pace and Jared Harris?
AE: Always learning, not just with them who are fantastic actors and it was a joy working with them, but also from Lou [Llobell], from everyone. Any time you do a scene, you're picking things up, picking information. That's part of the exchange of any bit of dialog. You try and maintain a level of openness that serves the work you're doing but also ultimately serves you. Yeah, it was an educational experience, as every job is. It's a joy when you get to work with people as talented as I got to work with on this job, it makes it fun. It makes it exciting.
Visually this show is impressive. Along with the story, I was blown away by the special effects, the set design, and the locations. What do you think fans are going to be drawn to from the start?
AE: Oh, I think the visuals are going to be fantastically impressive, look amazing and not just astonishing and huge, but beautifully shot. So I think that's something people will enjoy, those production values. When you have those extraordinary bits, these huge wide shots that take in vistas, that you can only imagine when you think of space, when you think of Sci-Fi. That's one of the exciting things about Sci-Fi, it gives us a different visual template from what we're used to seeing in our day-to-day. As well as the look of it, hopefully, people will get behind the characters. People will find them compelling, people will relate to them, and people will be hopefully intrigued and excited watching them trying to navigate a very difficult set of circumstances. There's nothing low stakes about what's going on, on the show. I think that kind of dramatic energy is what makes for exciting TV at the moment.
Do you see the series' themes very prescient to today? Does it serve as a bit of a warning?
AE: It's always important to consider our relationship with authority. Where the individual fits in within the collective. To think about what the consequences of our actions now are, and how things will unfold going forward. To take that personal responsibility for the generations that follow and not just our own. So, yes, I can't think of a time when a story like this wouldn't be prescient. I think that is presumably one of the things that has made 'Foundation' endure. That's why people love the story so much. This is something we hope that the show will do and continue in that tradition.
Enjoy the full interview here: