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MAR­JORIE PRIME | Jon Hamm talks ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence in a sci-fi with real heart…

Total Film - - Teasers - JW

At the end of the film, some peo­ple are com­forted and some are creeped the fuck out!” jokes Jon Hamm. Talk­ing to Teasers at the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val in Jan­uary, the one-time Mad Man un­der­stands why his new movie, Mar­jorie Prime, might di­vide au­di­ences. Af­ter all, he plays a holo­gram of a dead man who’s able to in­ter­act with Mar­jorie (Lois Smith) in a dev­as­tat­ingly life­like way.

Based on the play by Jor­dan Har­ri­son (in which Smith also starred) and set in the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture, the film sees Hamm play­ing a Prime ver­sion of Wal­ter, Mar­jorie’s re­cently de­ceased hus­band. Like the best AI, Wal­ter can learn through his in­ter­ac­tions, but is he re­ally help­ing or just in­ter­rupt­ing Mar­jorie’s grieving? “We’ve all had mo­ments where we’ve asked th­ese ques­tions about death and had th­ese dif­fi­cul­ties with par­ents and grand­par­ents,” says di­rec­tor Michael Almereyda (Ex­per­i­menter and the Ethan Hawke ver­sion of Ham­let).

Un­sur­pris­ingly, ev­ery­body re­acts dif­fer­ently to Wal­ter. Mar­jorie finds his pres­ence a com­fort, but her daugh­ter (Geena Davis) is less re­cep­tive, brand­ing the Prime creepy. “I don’t know if I would

find it com­fort­ing or not,” muses Hamm. “But I’m an op­ti­mist. There’s the Black Mir­ror and Ex Machina dark­ness side of sci-fi, but I like be­ing hope­ful about the fu­ture.”

It’s not all doom and gloom. Almereyda stayed true to much of the play’s sly hu­mour, in­clud­ing the con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Wal­ter and Mar­jorie about a film they used to love watch­ing to­gether – rom­com clas­sic My Best Friend’s Wed­ding. “Jor­dan put in that movie, which I hadn’t seen,” Almereyda re­veals. “I said, ‘Is this an im­por­tant movie?’ He said, ‘No, it’s just a silly ’90s com­edy, I wanted some­thing light.’ Then I watched it and I was very moved by it. It’s about not getting what you want.”

ETA | 3 NovEm­bEr / mAr­joriE PrimE oPENs NExT moNTh.

John Hamm as back-from-the-dead hus­band Wal­ter.

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