After working as cinematographer on Christopher Nolan’s films, from Memento to The Dark Knight Rises, Wally Pfister has claimed a director’s chair of his own for the upcoming science fiction film Transcendance. We know that Nolan is producing the film, and there have been rumors that Christian Bale and/or Johnny Depp are being courted for roles in the film, but we haven’t known many concrete details about the “cerebral science fiction film.” Now, however, the first official plot synopsis for Transcendence has been released, and…well, it’s still pretty vague, actually.
Here’s the skinny from TheWrap:
The story follows three scientists, attempting work on stem cell and advanced computer technology, which will change the fundamentals of human life. Tension comes into play when they are met by protest and resistance.
That synopsis comes on the heels of an earlier description from the Hollywood Reporter, who said that Transcendance “centers on a man who creates a computer that develops a malevolent awareness. Depp will play a husband who gets sucked into the computer, contingent on changes Pfister is making to the script.”
It sounds like it will definitely be a “big idea” kind of film, which is usually a good thing. Comparisons are already being made to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is a pretty high bar for a first-time feature director to shoot for. Then again, I’m guessing when you spend a decade working with one of the best filmmakers of our time, you probably pick up a few things.
So if we know, at least theoretically, who Depp would be playing, how would Bale figure in? Another of the three central scientists, perhaps? Or maybe the film’s antagonist, assuming it has one that’s a person rather than a concept or ideal. Seeing Bale go head-to-head against Depp onscreen could be good fun.
Another big question mark is the film’s writer, Jack Paglen. According to IMDb, Transcendence would be his first produced film, so we don’t really have a resume with which to judge the guy. Given that Pfister picked his screenplay to become his feature directorial debut, I’m guessing he’s got some writing chops.