In the new Sci-Fi thriller “Reversion,” opening in select
theaters today, reliving a favorite past memory has become a new reality with
the creation of Oubli, a wearable
device connected to a smartphone that allows consumers to rejoice in the pleasure
of a memory, or, perhaps more likely, the vivid re-imagining of what one could
wish was an actual past occurrence.
At the helm of “Reversion,” Jose Nestor Marquez (“Ana Maria
in Novela Land”) set out to create a story that delved into the private lives
of the privileged Sophie Clé (Aja Naomi King) and her billionaire tech mogul father
and Oubli creator Jack Clé (Colm Feore). In the interview
below, writer/director Marquez talks about this new technology, the sinister
and dark tone of the film and the dubious morality of its characters, as well
as other themes at the forefront of his clever new thriller, also starring Gary Dourdan and Lela Rochon.
S&A: What was the inspiration behind “Reversion”?
JNM: I spent a lot of time thinking about how technology
shapes our lives. I grew up being interested in computers like many other geeks.
I guess the world we live in and how history shapes the present; I became more
interested in how technology is a reflection of our values of what we think is
important and of what we give importance to. I’m thinking of technology in
terms of what good comes from it; the tools we make and what dangers they pose.
The genesis of the story was a – what if someone made this thing; how dangerous
could it be?
S&A: It’s a very original concept. I don’t think I’ve
seen it in other movies, only “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” comes to
JNM: Yeah, I read a story last year about a psychiatrist in
New York for people who were suffering from PTSD. Their problem is that they’re
unable to make sense of an event because their memory of it is so painful that
they can’t fully remember it. The moment that they begin to really remember it,
the fear and the violence of that moment is so overwhelming that they aren’t
able to fully remember it, so she came up with a way for people to have these
memories about the feelings associated with it for a more positive development
of these memories. I thought, what would be a negative version of that? And
that’s what I think the technology of this movie really is; an extension of the
many devices that we have, or so many of those products in our lives which are
giving us some kind of quick fix, a jolt of pleasure. It may not be giving us
an opportunity to grow as people or to heal.
S&A: It’s sort of like getting high..
JNM: I would imagine it is! [Laughs] If you could remember
your happiest memory, a moment of joy, you can just imagine how it could be
S&A: This could be explored in many different ways..
JNM: There’s a movie from the 80’s, a sort of neglected
movie, which in part is fantastic called “Brainstorm”. The movie is about how
technology helps you remember things and in that movie there are people using
this stuff already to sort of get high on one particular memory.
S&A: Maybe there could be a sequel to Reversion..
JNM: I would love that opportunity. When people watch this
movie, I want them to be surprised. Not so much of anything specific that
happens but because the experience of watching this movie is unlike most other
movies of this day. Often times, you make a movie to fit a certain type of
genre or to sell to the highest bidder and we had an opportunity to make a
mature movie that doesn’t have a lot of compromises in it, so the ending is
shocking I think. The tone of it is very dark and sinister because we didn’t
have to worry about upsetting people or worry about protecting reputation of
the actors. Having the opportunity to make a movie with ambiguous characters or
not fully evil or fully good.
S&A: How did you cast your lead actress Aja Naomi King?
JNM: Her audition was
fantastic. She is really an actor. She went to Yale for Drama; she’s very much
devoted to her craft, same thing with Colm Feore, same thing with Amanda
Plummer etc. We got some really good actors who were interested in morality, in
evil, regret, and in shame. That allowed us to focus on the parts of the story
that were most relatable, even if it’s a story about a really wealthy person, the 99% that aren’t can still relate to the feelings that these
S&A: Did you set out to cast a black lead? Did her race
of any bearing on your decision?
JNM: I wrote for her character to be a black woman. I wrote
for her father to be a white man. I wanted that to be an extra layer; it adds
something very interesting to the end of the movie. Without getting to the
spoiler, the fact that she’s black and he’s white gives their conversation
about danger, about opportunity and about privilege and extra sort of dark
edge. I think that was one of the pluses.