I ORIGINS written and directed by Mike Cahill, with Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey and Archie Panjabi. A Fox Searchlight Pictures release. 113 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (July 25). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
It's not that Michael Pitt and Mike Cahill don't want to talk about their new movie, I Origins. It's that they don't want to talk about its twists and turns.
So let's just say that Cahill's follow-up to his 2011 lo-fi sci-fi drama Another Earth stars Pitt (Last Days, Boardwalk Empire) as a research scientist who discovers that the world is far more complicated than he would like to believe.
"When I was reading it for the first time, it never went any way that I'd imagined," Pitt says. "It always went somewhere different. I love it when that happens, when you plant a little seed and you think, ‘All right, it's either gonna go this way or that way,' and then it just goes in a completely different way. But that's all I'll say about it."
Cahill is willing to go into a little more detail - but not much.
"There's nothing inessential in the movie," he says. "Like, the first third of the film, a lot of seeds are planted that we reap later on. Even things that seem sort of lighthearted, you know? Nothing is not important; those things all become relevant later."
What they're both more than willing to talk about is the trust they placed in one another while shooting.
"Maybe the hardest thing in the world as an actor is you put in all this stuff, and then you see how it's edited," Pitt says. "Like, I did a movie with this theatre actress, and the edit was not in her favour. It was very, very discouraging for a very, very good, smart, talented actress.
"I mean, every actor deals with this," Pitt says. "There are things that are just missed, you know? Because the director's not looking, or they didn't cover it."
Cahill edits his own movies, a fact that Pitt says figured heavily into his signing on to the project. And the director was delighted to have him aboard.
"Say you do 10 takes of a scene," Cahill says. "Out of those 10 takes, there's not one that is false - they are all versions of an authentic human authentically feeling. And so it becomes a new and kind of wonderful challenge: it's all a matter of nuance. Like, this [take] has a little bit more separation; this one has a little bit more closeness. He can go to all those places, and it's really impressive."