Weird sci­ence

The cast and crew of Mor­gan talk the mak­ing of a mon­ster…

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert -

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…

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