(Some spoilers below.)D'Arcy plays Adam Bird, a married father of three on the brink of divorce from his wife, Reena (Anna Brewster). The year is 2048, and people are largely living indoors during the day because the sunlight is powerful enough to scald human skin instantly. Everyone spends most of their time in a virtual world known as the Realm. (The fact that Reena caught Adam virtually cavorting with his AI lover is just one of their many marital issues.) Everyone also takes regular doses of LithiumX to ward off depression. Adam, however, clings to his old habits, driving a convertible to the office in a hazmat suit and refusing to take the drug.
Then he learns he has a terminal heart condition and must shore up his struggling VR business long enough to maintain their premium insurance policy. It provides for a clone, complete with all of Adam's memories and traits, to raise his family in his place once he dies. In fact, the clone would be an improved version of himself, and Adam isn't quite ready to face this bitter reality. Things become much more complicated and weirder from there. We sat down with director Guy Moshe (Bunraku) to learn more about the genesis of the film and its themes.
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Can you tell us a little bit about the genesis of this film?
Guy Moshe: It started with the human aspect. I'm happily married, got three kids. We were spending a lot of time with other families, and in a span of a year or so, there were a lot of these relationships going up in flames all around us—people separating and getting divorced. Even though every story is different and every individual is different, I could see a through line: people reaching adulthood and feeling like, at some point along the way, they didn't get a chance to be all that they wanted to be, or that they could be. That gave birth to the idea of a person trapped inside a situation like this. I also couldn't escape the thought that part of the reason the family structure in today's world is a little less sacred than it used to be is because of all this technological revolution going on around us, which reduces the need for social interaction. It makes us less of the social creatures that we were intended to be.
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With these two linking ideas in mind, the film started evolving. I wanted to focus on one character's journey. We all have the image of ourselves that we want to be, that we project to the outside world. But there's also another image of who we really, truly are, which a lot of us either never discover or never have the courage to admit to ourselves. Then there is another image of the way other people see us on the outside, and finally, the potential of the best version of ourselves that we can be. I wanted to examine the journey of a person as he discovers these different facets of himself.
It was one of the scripts that I thought about the most of everything I've ever written. But when I finally sat down to write it, the first draft of the script came out of me almost like a stream of consciousness. When I knew I was going to cast James [D'Arcy] in the lead role, I shaped it to his character a little bit more.How did James become involved in the project? He's well known for his supporting roles, and it was such a pleasure to see him in a meaty leading role for a change.