Christopher Nolan's Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister (whose credits also include The Italian Job and Moneyball) is steadily assembling a cast together for his directing debut Transcendence. The self-described present day science-fiction film revolves around a scientist (Johnny Depp) whose consciousness is uploaded into the experimental supercomputer of his own design.
Paul Bettany (voice of Jarvis in the Iron Man and Avengers movies) was confirmed as a supporting player just last week, right after Alcon Entertainment announced a 2014 release date and confirmed Depp's casting. Today, the studio continues its strategy of keeping the film in the headlines, by revealing that Rebecca Hall has snagged the female lead role.
Hall appears opposite Bettany (well, okay, his voice) in Iron Man 3 this May. She is playing the role of Maya Hansen, a scientist and important side character in the film's "Extremis" comic book source material. Appropriately, the actress will costar in Transcendence as Depp's wife: a nanotechnology and A.I. expert, who uploads Depp's consciousness into the previously-mentioned supercomputer after he is left for dead by anti-technology terrorists. I presume Bettany is playing Depp and Hall's partner, who assists them with their work.
Nolan and Pfister worked alongside Hall on The Prestige back in 2006. She then moved onto roles that won her more acclaim, in such films as Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona (snagging Hall a Golden Globe nod for her efforts), Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon, Nicole Holofcener's Please Give and Ben Affleck's The Town. Pfister's directing debut sounds like another fine addition to Hall's growing resume, in terms of both film count and overall pedigree.
The Transcendence script is the handiwork of relative newcomer Jack Paglen, with additional development by Annie Marter (Meet Bill) and revisions handled by Noah Oppenheim (The Maze Runner). If the film proves as engaging and rich a sci-fi experience as early story details and the quality cast indicate, then all three writers and director Pfister stand to make large gains - as far as their credibility within the greater moviemaking community is concerned.
Meanwhile, the ongoing "war" between sci-fi and superhero movies continues on through this year. However, the showdown in 2014 is already shaping up to be equally impressive (if not more so), what with films like Pfister's Transcendence and Brad Bird's Tomorrowland promising to give the Marvel movie competition a run for its money. Fortunately, that means better entertainment all around for us cinema geeks.
Look for Transcendence in theaters on April 25th, 2014.
Source: Alcon Entertainment