The Signal Tune In, Freak Out
Dcountry to California, MIT students Nic ( Brenton Thwaite), Jonah ( Beau Knapp) and Haley ( Olivia Cooke) decide to make a detour into New Mexico to track down a hacker who has been taunting them online. But instead Nic finds himself trapped in an underground facility controlled by a mysterious doctor ( Laurence Fishburne) wearing a hazmat suit, who provides more questions but no answers.
The Signal is the second feature from William Eubank, director of 2011’ s Love, about an astronaut stranded on the International Space Station. “I was finishing editing my last film and I was talking with a good friend of mine, David Frigerio, and my little brother about getting into a project about people who have been abducted but don’t realise they have been abducted, similar to a Twilight Zone type of thing,” says Eubank, who co- wrote the script with his two fellow conspirators. Unlike his claustrophobic debut, the backdrop for The Signal is the sun- baked landscape of New Mexico. “We would get these really wild dust storms out there,” says Eubank. “We were shooting some of the bigger, heavier stuff at the end and this crazy windstorm just added to the intensity of the moment. Sometimes nature would help us and then sometimes nature would completely shut us down, so it was a doubleedged sword.”
Eubank was keen to explore New Mexico’s long association with alien encounters in the film. “I grew up loving the romanticism and the mystery of Area 51,” he says. “I love things that get into clichés or tropes in a roundabout way, they don’t start looking like they are going in that direction and then suddenly they are. It’s a fun way to explore the things that we know in pop culture.”
But The Signal doesn’t come at the aliens head- on. “There are a lot of fishbowl shots and the fish are representative of a world and perspective that only they can know. They’re stuck in that bowl,” he says. “I always thought that if aliens really wanted to study us they would have to create something that can communicate and work with us. If we wanted to study beetles we’d have to make some strange little beetle that could actually communicate and talk with other beetles. It’s just a weird concept that we applied to the movie.” The Signal opens in cinemas on 27 March.
Is Laurence Fishburne about to present this year’s Budget?
Wonder if they do requests?