Last weekend, first-time director David Lowery’s indie crime drama Ain’t Them Bodies Saints was released in theaters to wide acclaim, which wasn’t surprising given it earned a lot of buzz at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It is surprising, however, that Lowery will follow that dark tale with a trip into heady science fiction, as he has signed on to write and direct To Be Two, an adaptation of “To Be Two or Not to Be,” a short story from Into the Silent Land: Travels in Neuropsychology, a collection of stories from psychologist Paul Broks. Casey Affleck, who starred in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, is reteaming with Lowery for the film in both a starring and executive producer role.
Anyone who watched Looper will be able to grasp this plotline pretty quickly. The story takes place in a world where people can digitally teleport themselves to Mars, while their original bodies on Earth are vaporized. (This is the subject of some pretty fun Star Trek fan theories as well.) At some point, the teleportation machine malfunctions and doesn’t destroy the original person. The story delves into definitions of identity and asks which half of these duos is the “real” person, and what makes them different. And when authorities come in to “take care of” the original person, who’s to say they’re right or wrong?
These are all ideas that seem much more suited to the written word, as films that get into this kind of brainy territory far too often leave it up to vocalized exposition to get their point across. And while I’d love to believe that Lowery will excel here, he doesn’t have much of a track record to go by. If anything, it’d be easier to judge him by the films that he keeps attaching himself to. Already, he’s set to work on a remake of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, an adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis’ excellent serial killer graphic novel Torso, and a team-up with Robert Redford to adapt The Old Man and the Gun, based on a New Yorker article. Had he already wowed audiences with each of those, it’d be easier to go gung ho for this one.
I have much faith in Affleck though, as he’s proven his talents in films of all sizes and genres. His last few films include 2011’s admittedly weak Tower Heist and 2010’s violent and uncomfortable The Killer Inside Me, along with a voice role in Paranormam. He’ll next star in Scott Cooper’s thriller Out of the Furnace with Christian Bale, which opens in December. He’s currently filming Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, due out next year.
Below you’ll find the preview for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which is about as un-sci-fi a movie as you could imagine.