By Edward Davis | The Playlist September 2, 2011 at 6:19AM
During SXSW 2010, French filmmaker Michel Gondry first revealed to us a new lo-fi and under-the-radar project he was working on called, "The We & The I."It's [about] kids on a bus...it's about the group effect, how people in groups transform when the group is dislocated," he said in somewhat convolutedly. "Because everyone jumps out of the bus at different times, there is a smaller group and how the relationships evolve."
At the time we asked if the film had any genre-like bend and the "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" director said no, "It's more like a social thing. It's not [well-known] actors, it's going to be kids from a school in the Bronx," he said. "I love kids and just [regular] people too because they are not polluted by the medium [of film acting]. They come as they are and they have beautiful stories to tell, so I want to show that."
Gondry certainly ping-pongs from mainstream projects ("The Green Hornet") to smaller indie-based passion projects and if you've seen the labor of love documentary about his former school teacher aunt, "The Thorn in the Heart," you know the filmmaker has a big affinity for children -- the sequences inside a kindergarten class are positively ebullient. Either way, the "The We & The I" project -- borne out of meetings with the publishers of the "You'll Like This Film Because You're In It: The Be Kind Rewind Protocol" book which is about community filmmaking -- seems to mark a return to the themes of community fellowship and camaraderie that have appeared in much of Gondry's recent work ("Dave Chappelle's Block Party," "Be Kind Rewind"). However, a sci-fi-ish genre bent seems to have crept into the story.
As Gondry promised, "The We & The I" is the follow-up to his mainstream 'Green Hornet' experiment. It's currently filming in the Bronx and we've confirmed with his reps that the film centers on a group of school kids who travel into the future by mistake and discover a machine that keeps people younger. Here's the catch. That premise is evidently accurate... "for now." Does that mean this story is in flux as its shooting? Are they making it up as they go? Could it change from here on out?
All that remains unclear and deeper details seem to have eluded everyone for now. As far as we know there are no name-brand actors starring in this picture, but the production is keeping the film close to the vest so anything's possible for now. More details when we get them.