Dotting the Eyes in the Thought-Provoking I Origins

Posted: July 19, 2014 at 5:48 am

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By Danny Peary

I Origins fits my category Movies That Should Play in Sag Harbor. The second science-based SF film written and directed by Mike Cahill (the impressive Another Earth, starring Brit Marling) opens in New York City on Friday. It is described in the press notes as being both a molecular biology thriller and a love story. Smart, provocative, and well cast, it begins as a SF film but no experiment goes wrong and leads to horrific consequences, and it turns into an exploration of reincarnation. Michael Pitt is cast against type as Ian, an atheist scientist who is studying the origins of the eye. Ian is aided in his research by Kenny (Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead) and Karen (Brit Marling), his brilliant freshman assistant. Ian falls for Sofi (Astrid Bergs-Frisbey), a mysterious, spiritual woman he meets at a party. Years after Sofis death, Ian goes to India because its discovered that a young girl, Salomina (Kashish), has eyes that are, impossibly, a perfect match for Sofis. Last week I participated in roundtables with Mike Cahill, Brit Marling and Steven Yeun, and Michael Pitt and Astrid Bergs-Frisbey. I note my questions.

Mike Cahill Roundtable

Q: What is the origin of your movie?

Mike Cahill: I didnt know I was going to make the movie until I met Michael Pitt. I was asked if I wanted to meet him, and since Id admired him for a very long time, I jumped at the opportunity, just to chat. We sat down in Brooklyn in a coffee shop, on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. During the conversation I told him the story of I Origins, and he was like, Thats really cool, Id love to hear more about that one day. And that set off a wildfire in my head to write it. Id had the idea for twelve years floating around in the ether, and Id written many, many things up until that point on it, but I didnt have a script. I wrote it two weeks later, that was in August, and we started shooting at the end of January 2013. It was one year in the making, and we released it at Sundance, literally to the day that we finished production, January 2014.

Q: I think it you should be commended for making affordable science fiction films.

MC: For me, the sense of wonder in movies, over the last fifty or sixty years, has partially been driven by visual effects, but it has also been driven by ideas. Cutting-edge visual effects that are in very expensive movies and give us a sense of wonder are lame after about two years. But an idea can last forever. And an idea is free.

Q: Virtual technology has actually become reality these days. The question is, How do you bring those elements in and separate the spiritual element?

MC: Well, I think writers of science fiction are often influenced by current technologies and the predictions of where they may go in the future. So they extrapolate whats going on now to tell their stories. Mary Shelleys Frankenstein was about electricity animating dead things and it was extrapolated to be this great horror/sci-fi, but thats what science fiction writers do, except for Jules Verne who was completely prophetic. Iris biometrics first began in 1987 at Cambridge University. Minority Report is set years after that, but its an extrapolation to where we may end up. On the other hand, I wanted to make my movie grounded in now, using current technologies.

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Dotting the Eyes in the Thought-Provoking I Origins

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July 19th, 2014 at 5:48 am