The cast and crew of Morgan talk the making of a monster…
if you’ve seen the trailer for Morgan, the new sci-fi thriller from Luke Scott (son of director Ridley), chances are you’re thinking of Ex Machina. After all, it is about an artificial being who has been created in a lab – the titular humanoid who must be assessed by deadly risk-management consultant Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) to determine whether she’s dangerous or not. But, as Scott says, trailers can be deceptive.
“Ex Machina came out just as I was beginning to shoot Morgan and there was that little moment where my heart jumped,” he laughs. “But actually the stories are very different. For a start, Morgan is not a robot, but genetically modified – it focuses on what happens when an organism has its physical and mental attributes pumped up. Also, Ex Machina is a terrific movie but Morgan is more of a romp. It’s got more action in it.”
Indeed, it’s fair to say that Ex Machina didn’t feature what Kate Mara describes as a “massive, massive fight sequence that goes on for almost 30 minutes” between the superhuman Morgan and Mara’s own cold, highly-trained killer consultant. “We shot it in so many different locations as it goes on for quite some time,” she tells us. “It was the most stunts I’ve ever been involved in.”
Joining Mara are an impressive range of stars – including Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Michelle Yeoh and Paul Giamatti. But the most interesting member is Morgan herself, Anya Taylor-Joy, whose role as Thomasin in horror hit The Witch made her a breakout star. It’s a role, Taylor-Joy says, that she ended up connecting to on a personal level.
“Morgan is a genetically engineered human being but that’s the key thing: she’s human and not a machine,” she tells Red Alert. “She bleeds, she cries, she reacts to things. It wasn’t until I started to make movies that I stopped feeling alone and alienated, so I identified with her. It’s pretty close to why I identified with Thomasin, which is that she feels isolated from everyone behind glass. And the difference is that [Morgan] has a genuine sheet of glass rather than my metaphorical one.”
Morgan is Luke Scott’s directorial debut – a project that follows his short film Loom in 2012, and work as Second Unit Director on Exodus: Gods And Kings, directed by his father. Trying to follow in the shoes of the man who directed Alien is obviously a daunting task, yet being Ridley Scott’s son does have its advantages – namely that Ridley Scott is producing.
“He’s a good person to have on board,” says Scott Jr. “Having that access is obviously an amazing thing. You have a wealth of experience to tap into, and you’re able to learn from the old master. But he really let me get on with it, as he had his own movies to get on with. What was interesting was showing him it for the first time. It was very nerve-wracking to get that approval. But he liked it. I was actually surprised at how much he liked it. He can be over-critical, but he really got it. I mean, he put his name on it, thank god!”
The key thing is that Morgan is human and not a machine
Morgan opens in cinemas on 2 September.
These fun house mirrors really weren’t that fun. If you go down to the woods today…