Andrew Niccol’s sci-fi parable I’m.Mortal is gearing up for its oncoming shoot with a bout of talent recruitment. Amanda Seyfried was the first to join the cast, as Sylvia, an heiress who can afford to stay forever young. Next up, Justin Timeberlake started negotiating for the role of Will, “a poor man” who is “suddenly given a fortune [and] becomes the target of a murder investigation”.
And now, The Hollywood Reporter have announced the casting of Cillian Murphy. He has signed on as:
…an officer from an organization known as Timekeepers and described as “precise as the time he keeps.”
This is the character Raymond Leon, a senior officer in this future world’s police force. Niccol’s script says:
To Leon, if there is no order, there is nothing.
Uptight, clean out of sight.
According to the script, the film’s premise will be explained with the following title cards:
In the not-too-distant future the aging gene has been switched off.
To avoid over population, time has become the currency.
The rich can liver forever.
For the rest, immortality has become the quickest way to die.
Argue all you want about that last line – it’s definitely very foggy.
Of course, Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy don’t all look to be the exact same age. Niccol made a note on why this would be so:
The minor variation in the biological ages of the adults is due to the differing time of life an individual matures. Full maturation triggers the aging gene to switch off and the “body clock” to begin ticking.
This “body clock” is, quite literally, a clock embedded in the body. It shows a digital read out of time on the left wrist, just where a watch would be typically worn. At the very beginning of the story, Will has less than a full day on his clock before his body will expire, but this is normal for him. By working, he can earn more time and prolong his life. There’s a little buffer on each day’s time pay so that after a few days, there would be enough in the bank for a day off. Unfortunately, Will has rent to pay and food to put on the table, so he’s working double shifts simply to stay alive.
It’s clearly a rather fanciful device, but Niccol seems set to make a lot out of it. There’s no such thing as an “aging gene” so Niccol would appear to be far less interested in real, or even realistic, science than he was in Gattaca. He’s put social and moral ideas at the forefront, and the science has been bent out of shape to permit his metaphors and dramatic devices. I certainly don’t have any issues with this but I know that plenty of folk will.
I’m awaiting news on who will be designing and shooting this film. Hopefully Niccol gets collaborators who can make the most of his time-warped futureworld. In the right hands – and with enough time/money thrown at it – this film has the potential to be rather visually striking.
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