Sexy Beast director Jonathan Glazer is back for his first feature film since 2004, and he’s delving into science fiction this time around. His Under the Skin, an adaptation of Michael Faber’s novel of the same name, is in post-production. The film stars Scarlett Johansson, and they just released the first official photograph. My favorite bit of the image is the hazy, almost ghost-like face that appears in the window behind Johansson.
Here’s the Amazon description of Under the Skin:
Described as a “fascinating psychological thriller” (The Baltimore Sun), this entrancing novel introduces Isserley, a female driver who picks up hitchhikers with big muscles. She, herself, is tiny-like a kid peering up over the steering wheel. Scarred and awkward, yet strangely erotic and threatening, she listens to her hitchhikers as they open up to her, revealing clues about who might miss them if they should disappear. At once humane and horrifying, Under the Skin takes us on a heart-thumping ride through dangerous territory-our own moral instincts and the boundaries of compassion. A grotesque and comical allegory, a surreal representation of contemporary society run amok, Under the Skin has been internationally received as the arrival of an exciting talent, rich and assured.
And here’s what that description doesn’t say, that Johansson’s character is an alien, sent to Scotland by a corporation on her home world, tasked with collecting human beings to be used for meat. That’s a sizeable detail to leave out. It also appears that the protagonist has been renamed Laura.
That’s not the only change, as the character in the novel is also supposed to be ugly and weird looking. From this photo Johansson’s is more sultry and sexy rather than freaky. I imagine a film about a weird looking woman roaming the countryside looking for dudes would be a tough sell to a studio.
Under the Skin is a satire, a jab at big business, factory farms, and environmental decay, but it also deals with more personal ideas. Sexual identity and the nature of humanity are chief among these, and it sounds like Glazer’s film will maintain these thematic lines. This has the makings of an intriguing, finely shaded, mind bender of a thriller.
There is no release date scheduled yet, but Under the Skin will likely drop sometime this year, and I’m sure there will be more news soon.