When “Another Earth” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival three years ago, the quiet, otherworldly drama made quite a splash with critics and audiences alike. First-time director Mike Cahill’s talents were obvious—even on a low budget—and lead actress (and co-writer) Brit Marling was a breakout star.
Fast-forward to Sundance 2014, where Cahill and Marling are once again setting the town abuzz. “I Origins” stars Michael Pitt as Dr. Ian Gray, a molecular biologist whose studies of the human eye break new ground in the interplay between science and spirituality. Sounds like heady stuff, but while Cahill (writing solo this time) once again asks his audience to confront big ideas, he invites us in by weaving intimate stories about people we care about, allowing us a smooth transition into a challenging concept. Watching this movie doesn’t feel like work; yet, at the end, we feel refreshed by the existential stimulation the film provides (read our review here).
If that sounds pretentious, or over the top, it’s not, and that’s a testament to both the script and the excellent cast, led by the triumvirate of Pitt, Marling and newcomer (to American audiences, anyway) Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, a Spanish actress who speaks French and haunts us with her multicolored eyes (she's probably best known for her turn in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides"). Archie Panjabi (“The Good Wife”), Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead”) and an Indian child actor named Kashish round out the supporting cast.
We caught up with both Cahill and Pitt at Sundance last week, where we learned about Pitt's challenge to Cahill to write the script in a week, his next project, based on a 1920s book that inspired the Beats and more. Meanwhile, Cahill discuses faith, science and the “existential questions we all wrestle with.”
You can catch “I Origins” in theaters when it’s released later this year by Fox Searchlight. Check out the interviews below.