As somebody who spends his days poking around the dark corners of the Internet to find interesting or insane things to share with you, I can certainly relate to the notion of completely losing yourself in the digital world. The upcoming science fiction thriller Transcendence, however, takes this idea a bit further than my daily realizations that I’ve been sitting at the computer long enough that I need to go trim the beard I didn’t have when I sat down. In the film, Johnny Depp plays Dr. Will Caster, a brilliant scientist working on the cutting-edge fringes of artificial intelligence research. After an anti-tech group tries to kill Caster, his wife (Rebecca Hall) and best friend (Paul Bettany) take the desperate measure of uploading Will’s consciousness into a supercomputer. And if science fiction has taught us anything, it’s that uploading your brain into a supercomputer can have only positive ramifications.
The next trailer for Transcendence is due to premiere tomorrow, but in the meantime Warner Bros. has shared the official poster for the film, the nicely ominous number you can see up top. It’s a variation on the “back to camera” shot that Hollywood just can’t get enough of — see last year’s posters for Oblivion, Star Trek Into Darkness, and After Earth, just to name a few. At least this one brings things in closer, focusing on the core notion Depp’s “transcendence” into something more than human. (But not more human than human.)
Transcendence marks the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, who, in spite of having a name perfectly suited to a career in porn, has spent the last 20 years or so working as a cinematographer and then director of photography on films ranging from The Italian Job to Moneyball. Most notably, he served as DP on director Christopher Nolan’s films, beginning with Memento and continuing all the way through The Dark Knight Rises. With Nolan moving on to his next project, the mysterious sci-fi flick Interstellar, Pfister decided it was time to try out the director’s chair himself. To say the guy has had some solid on-the-job training would be a bit of an understatement.
Transcendence was written by up-and-coming screenwriter Jack Paglen, who has since been attached to the Prometheus 2 script. His Transcendence screenplay earned a slot on the coveted Hollywood Black List, which highlights popular unproduced scripts, in 2012. The film stars Johhny Depp, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, and Cole Houser. Here’s the official synopsis and the first trailer. Keep an eye on GFR tomorrow to see the new one!
Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed — to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can…but if they should. Their worst fears are realized as Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him.