I don’t know about you guys, but I’m thrilled that Johnny Depp is about to star in a movie that isn’t A) directed by Tim Burton, B) another unnecessary Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, or C) produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. In case you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, I’m referring to Depp’s upcoming lead role in Transcendence, the feature directorial debut of famed cinematographer Wally Pfister. Pfister is a director of photography/cinematographer who has worked extensively with Christopher Nolan throughout his career, winning an Oscar for his work on Inception and helping broaden the scope of IMAX storytelling with The Dark Knight Trilogy, and now that he’s moving into the director’s chair, it looks like Pfister is cherry-picking some of Nolan’s favorite actors while nabbing a few high-profile cast members of his own.
But first, a brief plot synopsis. Like many of Nolan’s directorial efforts, Transcendence is being kept relatively secret, but early script reviews reveal it’s a science fiction action film that revolves around a husband and wife team of scientists named Will and Evelyn who, along with their partner Max, work to create a programming code for the first self-aware computer. But a group of anti-technology terrorists burst in to assassinate Will, and Evelyn somehow manages to upload his brain into a prototype supercomputer, where he survives inside the Internet. Whoa.
Depp is starring as Will, while Rebecca Hall (The Prestige, Iron Man 3) will be playing Evelyn and Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind, Priest) takes the role of Max. The insanely underrated Kate Mara (“House of Cards”) is playing an unknown part, and Morgan Freeman just signed on at the end of last week for another mysterious role here. Now, Latino-Review reports that Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, Batman Begins) is also joining the cast, adding yet another member of Nolan’s trusty acting troupe for this project.
This could be the best time for science fiction movies that Hollywood has seen in decades. It’s exciting to know that filmmakers are still willing to push the boundaries and create original stories again, and with Nolan’s guidance, Pfister could have a philosophical action tentpole on his hands here. TRON: Legacy recently had the opportunity to raise some great questions about what it means to be a human in a digital world, how technology shapes and controls our lives, and how our identities operate in relation to computers, but that movie mostly abandoned any sort of philosophy in favor of slick visuals and a sub-par story. Maybe Pfister can explore the same kinds of questions on his own terms in this film (with a script that is hopefully much better than TRON’s).
Filming on Transcendence is supposed to begin this month, and it already has a release date set for right around this time next year: April 25th, 2014. Chris Nolan and his wife/producing partner Emma Thomas will be producing this project, so anyone who thought he was going to take a big break after The Dark Knight Rises is sorely mistaken. With Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel coming up this summer and both Transcendence and Nolan’s own Interstellar hitting theaters next year, the man is busier than ever. We’re excited to see what Wally Pfister can do as a director; hopefully he’s picked up a few tricks from his longtime collaborator and will prove to be just as good a filmmaker in his own right.
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