He’s such a wonderful actor. I was actually discussing a bigger project with James that was about to happen while I was working on this script. When that other movie was postponed, I couldn’t escape the feeling that it would be so great in this role. There is something about James; he has such great humility, such an easy capacity to command the scene. Due to his nature, his personality, he restrains himself a lot, and he has a great self-deriving humor. I also love to see these great actors, who are not always at the center of things, play these kinds of roles.
When Adam confronts his clone, he discovers that his wife knew him better than he thought. The clone looks more like what Adam, deep down, would have liked to be. It was funny in a sad way.
None of us, I think, really know who we would be if someone magically gave you the opportunity to be all that you could be. Many of us don’t even have the ability to imagine ourselves like this, because we live a lot inside of ourselves. Often, it is the people closest to us who can see and understand us more objectively. Yet the tragedy of many of these relationships that fall apart is that we are not able to communicate with each other, on the positive side, about the things that brought us together in the first place. So I knew Reena would know better than he did what would make him happy, but I also knew there was no way in the real world that she could ever help him get to that place.
In many ways, the film is quite timely. The sun has not become deadly toxic, but we are in the midst of a pandemic and we need to engage with each other primarily in the virtual realm.
During the lockout, I had the opportunity to participate in large Zoom meetings where suddenly I speak to 30 people. On the one hand, you’re thinking, well, I’m interacting with people right now. Some people would tell you that they talked more with their family [during the pandemic] than before.
But the first time when [social distancing measures] relaxed a bit, we went to a little birthday party, and everyone there said they didn’t realize how much they missed just being around other people. So there is clearly a huge difference. I think the sense of touch is something so important for human beings; it is essential to our existence. For me, the scary part is this idea that we lose the ability to interact with the world the way we were biologically supposed to.
The film explores this notion of the darker side of upgrades – seeing people as outdated technology. And while the clones are considered superior to the original humans, there is a virtual chip waiting in the wings that will someday make the clones obsolete as well.
I loved that the clone itself was aware from the fact that it is just a transient upgrade. It can’t be the end result, because by the time you start taking all of the digital, there’s no reason for biology to exist anymore. For me that is a very big question. Of course, there are a lot more successful people than me who are now walking around wondering if we all actually exist in a computer simulation right now. The film talks about it from a biological point of view. Perhaps this is an admission on my part of what I would like to believe. There is that moment when [Adam’s AI lover] Maria [talks about] the fact that we could all be cells of a bigger body. If you could transfer that into the digital realm, that would equate to a 100% virtual existence. Everything, all the data that we interpret, even with our sense of touch, is ultimately transformed into electrical impulses. So maybe it is possible.