The 1990 sci-fi film Flatliners has become a cult favorite over the years due to its tackling of the subject matter of what happens in the afterlife. Now, 28 years later, we now have a sequel with the same title, focusing on a new group of medical students, led by Ellen Page’s Dr. Courtney Holmes, attempting the same experiment that Kiefer Sutherland’s Nelson Wright attempted prior.
Screen Rant got a chance to talk with Ellen Page, James Norton, and Kiersey Clemons on press day, where we discussed what attracted them to this film, if the film sparked an interest in the afterlife, and what they took from the dream sequences that occurred in Flatliners.
First of all, I love your stuff on Viceland. It’s my favorite thing to watch all the time, but I actually really enjoyed this film. I saw the original not too long ago, but something that I really liked about this was that I felt this was super relevant in terms of people that are very competitive that have to take something to get that edge. What attracted you guys to this film?
Ellen Page: What attracted me was the premise and why the original has maintained its cult status and its relevance. And then getting to play this character Courtney, who has this whole range of experience in the film and I was just fascinated and moved and compelled and it seemed like really fun, but also something that you could really dig into.
James Norton: Yeah. Fun for me. I remember reading the original script and it’s just a rush. It’s a thriller and it asks some big and pertinent questions, which hopefully will be taken into account afterwards. But it’s also a ride and it has that wonderful horror element in the end. And it’s an interesting thing, but we hadn’t looked at that angle of the Millennial needing to distinguish themselves from the pack and these five people are prepared to go that far and I think it applies particularly to Jamie because he’s so ambitious and wants to prove his worth. So, yeah, that’s an interesting take.
Did any of you guys get really fascinated by the afterlife? I know you did the video game Beyond, which touches on it a little bit, but did this enhance any kind of fascination you had of the afterlife?
Kiersey Clemons: I don’t think it, I don’t think so personally. I mean, without the movie, I probably would have spent the time thinking about that or at least, even while I’m here, just what’s on the other side? What’s happening? Is there another side?
James Norton: You know, we’ve been asked that question and we are really bad at answering it because...
Kiersey Clemons: It’s a deep question.
James Norton: Yeah. It’s really hard. Everyone’s intrigued. Everyone speculates. People write music, film, books about it, but no one really has a clue. We certainly have no clue.
Kiersey Clemons: Yeah.
One thing that I liked about this film as well is the afterlife dream sequences that are going on. To separate it from the original, this one felt more like a thriller. What do you guys think about those kind of scenes in terms of what’s going on in the afterlife that stimulates the brain and stuff like that?
Ellen Page: Well, for me, I enjoy the ambiguity of it in terms of what is actually happening here and another thing that attracted me to playing Courtney is this trauma from the past that’s been repressed manifesting and exploring how it manifests in everyone differently and that sort of euphoric rush that you get on [inaudible] or something. So that is something that I enjoyed. I didn’t see it necessarily see it as a rush in the afterlife, but more brain firing.
Kiersey Clemons: Yeah.
James Norton: How we deal with guilt and repression and it’s an exaggerated, compressed version of that because we’ve, through the flatline, have prompted this horrible manifestation of our repressed guilt and, in a metaphor for life, we should all be dealing with our baggage more readily for a healthier mind.
- Flatliners (2017) release date: Sep 29, 2017