Semel, who directs
commercials through Accomplice Media, has a history of directing pilots that
become hit television series.

Los Angeles— In his latest television
outing, director David Semel engages in a frightening, but enthralling, game of
“What if?”
Produced for Amazon by Ridley Scott and based on the
award-winning Phillip K. Dick novel, The
Man in the High Castle
is an alternate history set in the aftermath of
World War II, but in this telling, the Nazis and their Japanese allies were the
victors. Semel directed the pilot, which is currently available through Amazon
Prime’s instant video service.
Semel, who recently launched his career as a commercial
director through Accomplice Media,
is an acknowledged master of the exacting art of the television pilot. His past
credits include the hits Person of
, Legends, Heroes and,
most recently, Madam Secretary. He
received Emmy nominations for House M.D. and

David Semel

The pilot for The Man
in the High Castle
, which Semel shot in Seattle, includes a cast of emerging
stars (Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank and DJ Qualls) and features lavish
production value. Set in 1962, the show offers beautiful art direction, props,
costumes and CG set extensions to create an alternate and nightmarish reality.
“A big part of our preparation was devoted to imagining what that world would
look like,” Semel says. “We had mountains of artwork. It was quite an
The story Semel delivers is mesmerizing. The United States
east of the Rockies has become a collaborationist regime controlled by the
Germans. The West Coast is dominated by an oppressive Japanese culture. A small
strip of territory between the two is a no-man’s land. But a small resistance
movement is growing, taking extreme measures to keep from falling into the
hands of the Nazi and Japanese overlords. And, a power struggle is brewing
between the Axis victors.
Production spanned three weeks. “It was mindboggling what we
were able to achieve,” Semel observes. “I was shooting scenes during prep,
taking advantage of every moment we had. I was supported by a spectacular
Semel was first introduced to Dick’s novel four years ago
and has since been working with producer David W. Zucker and screenwriter Frank
Spotnitz to bring it to the screen. Once Amazon became interested in the
project, things proceeded quickly.
Ridley Scott’s involvement was, for Semel, a big bonus.
“Making a show from a Philip K. Dick novel with one of my cinematic heroes, the
man who made Bladerunner—one of the
best movies ever—was incredible,” Semel says. “It was very rewarding.”
For more information about Accomplice Media, visit
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