So far as pre-production periods go, the upcoming contemporary science-fiction flick Transcendence has experienced remarkably smooth sailing. Set to begin filming in May of this year, Transcendence has secured a promising first-time director in former cinematographer Wally Pfister (of The Dark Knight trilogy) and an increasingly impressive cast.
As of today, the weight of said cast has increased even further with the addition of another Oscar-nominated actor. Morgan Freeman (Oblivion) has agreed to provide his dulcet voice to 2014's Transcendence.
He joins a cast that includes Johnny Depp (The Lone Ranger), Kate Mara (House of Cards), Rebecca Hall (The Town), and Paul Bettany (Iron Man 3). For the moment, Freeman's exact role in the film is unknown.
Transcendence will follow an artificial intelligence researcher (Depp) who is mortally wounded by anti-technology zealots and is forced to upload his consciousness into his own supercomputer. His wife (Hall) and lab partner (rumored to be Bettany) are forced to hide and nurture this curious new hybrid as they flee from the same fanatics that sparked the crisis.
Though curious to consider, Transcendence will mark the first occasion in which Freeman and Depp have worked together on a film. Both actors came to prominence at roughly the same time in the early 1990s after years in television and small film roles (though Freeman debuted much earlier than Depp). That it's taken this long for them to land on the same production together is something of an oddball miracle.
The quality and content of Freeman's contribution to the film will hinge on his exact role in its narrative. If Bettany is indeed playing the role of Depp's partner, then it stands to reason that Freeman will be playing one of the anti-technology advocates – and thus Transcendence's antagonist.
While Freeman has played villains and bad-men before (see Dreamcatcher and Wanted), he's rarely seemed comfortable in that role. Instead, he's slipped into increasingly-expected parts as knowledgeable authority figures. As such, it's possible that the rumors have these roles reversed – perhaps Freeman will play Depp's partner, and Bettany will end up as a fanatic. Then again, Freeman may be portraying a character yet to be mentioned in any of the pre-production materials. No doubt this will become clearer as we move closer to the beginning of Transcendence's first day of shooting.
Transcendence will ascend into theaters on April 25th, 2014.