‘Primer’ Director Shane Carruth Working on Rian Johnson’s ‘Looper’

Published 3 years ago by

rsz 1shane carruth looper Primer Director Shane Carruth Working on Rian Johnsons Looper

Director Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) is taking on his most ambitious project to date with Looper – a sci-fi thriller about a futuristic crime syndicate that sends its victims back in time to be executed. While details are few and far between at this point, the film has attracted a talented ensemble of actors that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, and Paul Dano.

Using time travel as a plot device certainly opens up an infinite amount of narrative possibilities, but it’s also an inherently complex subject – and potentially a very problematic one as well. Setting up the rules of how it works, playing by those rules, and side-stepping the obvious paradoxes is a tricky business. Luckily for Johnson, he happens to be good friends with a heavyweight in this particular arena – Primer director Shane Carruth.

Carruth was something of a one-man-band with his 2004 debut – he wrote, directed, edited, scored, and starred in Primer. Although the film is unmistakably low-budget, Carruth clearly knows how to play to his strengths. The result is a tense and thought-provoking movie that demands repeat viewings. If you consider yourself a sci-fi fan on any level and you haven’t seen it, I can’t give a higher recommendation.

Although I have a tremendous amount of faith in Johnson, it was reassuring to hear that he’d passed the Looper script on to Carruth for inspection after it was finished.  There’s no word on what sort of feedback Carruth may have provided, but thanks to Looper‘s official Tumblr we know that his services have now gone beyond proofreading.

Johnson shared the above header image of Carruth on the Looper set and wrote:

Shane Carruth is working on Looper.

If you haven’t seen his film Primer, run don’t walk.

rsz 1johnsoncarruth 570x283 Primer Director Shane Carruth Working on Rian Johnsons Looper

Shane Carruth and Rian Johnson

Obviously that’s a rather ambiguous statement, so Badass Digest asked Johnson if he could elaborate on Carruth’s involvement with Looper. Johnson clarified that Carruth will be helping out with some of the film’s visual effects – specifically, the time-travel sequences. If you remember the way he handled the mechanics of time-travel in Primer, you’ll probably agree that this is exciting news.

It’s unfortunate that Carruth hasn’t directed another film yet, but he’s evidently had some trouble locking down the financing for his next project – another sci-fi film which is reportedly titled A Topiary. While we wait patiently for that to move forward, hearing that he’s collaborating with Johnson on Looper is a pretty substantial consolation.

I absolutely loved Johnson’s previous films and it’s clear to me that he’s a director who brings a very specific and unique vision to everything that he does. I think his level of potential as a filmmaker is staggering and I can’t wait to see what he and Carruth have in store for us.

Looper is scheduled to hit theaters sometime in 2012.

Source: Tumblr and Badass Digest.

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  1. This sounds like it has the potential to be fantastic…

  2. I loved Primer. I was looking forward to seeing what Carruth comes up with next. He is one to watch for sure.

  3. I don’t know, the synopsis for the movie doesn’t make much sense to me. If I ran a crime syndicate & I had access to time travel technology I’d be using it to do a lot more than just sending people back in time to be killed. That’s just stupid. It would make a little more sense if they were going back in time to kill people before they created the situation that lead to them being marked for death in the first place like in the Terminator.

    • Not all the details of the plot are available yet. We literally just got a one sentence synopsis…you can’t really start saying it’s “stupid” based on that.

      The people involved are extremely talented so let’s give ‘em a chance :)

  4. Best news I’ve heard this year. Primer is my favourite time travel movie bar none – inventive, perplexing, utterly convincing and infinitely rewatchable – and I’ve been hoping for nearly seven long years that SOMEONE somewhere would give the man a break.

  5. Fair enough, I am be jumping the gun a bit here, and I’m sure the actual movie will be quite complex & interesting given who’s involved in the production. But the initial plot description just isn’t really hooking me.
    I’m also ashamed to admit that after watching Primer I was left scratching my head in bewilderment about what was actually going on at the end. So learning that Carruth is involved is making my brain cells nervous:-)

    • It reminds me of when they released the one sentence synopsis of Inception about something taking place within the architecture of the mind. And we all just went “Oh…kay…?” But because it was Nolan we knew it would at least be worth a look.

      Definitely the same situation for me here.

    • Gary, this might help with Primer – then again it might muddy the waters even further… :-)

      http://classicalconvert.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/primer_timeline.jpg

      • Thanks for that Big Dentist. I remember finding something similar to that diagram after watching it. I was so confused towards the end of the movie that I just had to go online & see if I could get some help to clear it all up. One interesting thing I did learn from my research is that apparently Shane Carruth made the film obtuse & hard to decipher on purpose so the audience would be forced into really thinking about it.
        Not sure how true that might be but I could well believe it.

        • I think it was more a case of him not wanting the audience to know any more about the characters’ immediate situation than they themselves do. “The permutations were endless,” Aaron says in the narration after the Thomas Granger double shows up out of nowhere. “(They) found themselves admitting, against their own nature, and once again, that the answer was unknowable.” It’s quite a creepy concept: to know that you’re experiencing the ramifications of something that another version of you may or may not have done in another timeline altogether; you have no real idea what, and will never find out either. You and your reality have basically been overwritten by yourself.

          So much of what isn’t depicted is thought-provoking in its own right. I always wonder what would happen in the timelines where one of them has effectively vanished. How do you account for a missing friend without spilling the beans? Or in timelines where both of them are now absent: their boxes would eventually be discovered, and what then?

  6. Very good point Chris, I pretty much felt same way when Inception was first hinted at & it turned out to be one of my fav movies of the year.
    Interestingly enough they both star Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He seems to be making some very smart choices when it comes to roles these days, ignoring G.I.Joe of course.lol

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