After premiering his directorial debut, the futuristic, mind-bending romance The One I Love here in Park City three years ago, director Charlie McDowell returns with the dystopian future drama The Discovery.
Part Philip K. Dick, part Stanley Kubrick, with a dash of Christopher Nolan, The Discovery follows Will (Jason Segel), a neurosurgeon whose physicist father Dr. Harbor (Robert Redford) is even more renowned, radical and revolutionary in the medical field. Harbor has proved that the afterlife exists, and as such, the level of suicides explodes. Harbor is in hiding and has taken his research and his cult-like staff to a mansion estate on a New England island. Will ventures there to talk some sense into his father and along the way meets another one of his father’s followers, Isla (Rooney Mara), who Will takes a liking to. While at the compound, they learn of Dr. Harbor’s next shocking breakthrough: the ability to see the afterlife on a monitor through a dead person’s brainwaves after they cross over. Riley Keough plays one of Dr. Harbor’s acolytes whose parents have given up their lives for the other side.
Here McDowell explains his jumping-off point for the feature, which stars his off-screen girlfriend Mara. McDowell would share early pages with her for her input, and as he explains here, he and his screenwriting partner Justin Lader would go to locations for inspirations.
Given The Discovery‘s cryptic take on the afterlife, Segel explains his philosophical deconstruction of the sci-fi story — a metaphor for a scenario where “you can’t really set the reset button”: “For me the movie was much more about pulling a geographic which we do here in life: Things aren’t going well here in New York, so I’m going to try moving to LA. That ought to solve it. But you find out you take yourself with you. You never really get a fresh start.”
In addition here, McDowell talks about hooking Redford to board The Discovery, while Segel explains what it’s like to work opposite Mara.
Actors, directors, filmmakers and special guests visiting the Deadline Studio at Sundance 2017 enjoyed sweet and savory treats, custom cocktails and more at Applegate’s REEL FOOD CAFE. Find out more about Applegate and their mission to change the meat we eat at www.applegate.com.