Mike Cahill and cast discuss the making of 'I Origins'

By Marcina Zaccaria ,

In I Origins, filmmaker Mike Cahill takes on iris biometrics. In New York City, the filmmaker and four actors from the movie met to talk about their characters and the upcoming film.

Cahill, writer and director of the film, said that he moved forward with the script after a conversation with actor Michael Pitt. The two met at a café in Brooklyn a year and a half ago to exchange ideas about projects.

"He and I fell in sync with each other, and we talked about a lot of ideas," Cahill (Another Earth, Boxers and Ballerinas) said.

Cahill was particularly interested in considering iris biometrics and new technologies. He turned the project from a treatment to a script quickly. With two brothers who are scientists, Cahill wanted to “capture the feeling of a true PhD student.”

I Origins went on to win the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The filmmaker said of the Sundance experience, “It was exhilarating. It was tremendous.”

Pitt, who played Jimmy Darmody on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, plays Dr. Ian Gray, a molecular biologist studying the evolution of the eye.

In the film, Gray falls in love with Sofi because of her extraordinary eyes.

Sofi is played by Astrid Bergès-Frisbey who was previously seen as Syrena in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with Johnny Depp. "He has so many answers…and he has a sensibility about humanity at the same time," Bergès-Frisbey said of working with Cahill on the film.

The film also stars Steven Yeun from The Walking Dead as Kenny and Brit Marling, whose second film, Sound of My Voice, premiered at Sundance in the Next category.

Marling said she was glad not spend two hours in hair and make-up. The Georgetown alum was glad to shed simple concepts and “go into the microscope” to delve into the difficult questions in the film. Marling said of her character, Karen, “She is not interested in what people think about her…she is just interested in reveling in the ideas.” As Karen and Kenny continue in the film, they seek to ask the question, are we all connected?

Some of the story was inspired by ideas the Dalai Lama. When looking at the link between spirituality and science, the crew traveled all the way to India to make the film.

I Origins will be appearing in select theaters on July 18.

Images courtesy of Fox Searchlight.



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