A prison that encourages drug use? Well, that just might have to be the stuff of fiction…for now.
Netflix has adapted George Saunders’ New Yorker short story “Escape from Spiderhead,” about two inmates (played by Jurnee Smollett and Miles Teller) who grapple with their past crimes while living in a state-of-the-art penitentiary run by a brilliant visionary (Chris Hemsworth) who experiments on inmates with psychedelic drugs.
“Spiderhead” premieres June 17 on the streamer.
The tradeoff for being a test subject is a commuted prison sentence, but when the open-concept prison is challenged, the experiments start to push the limits of free will. The psychological thriller is directed by Joseph Kosinski (“Top Gun: Maverick,” “TRON: Legacy”) and written by producer Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“Deadpool,” “Zombieland”).
Director Kosinski revealed that the pop classic soundtrack, with tracks including Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science” and Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams,” came to him while at the dentist.
“I was listening to something like Christopher Cross while getting a tooth drilled,” Kosinski told Entertainment Weekly. “It felt interesting for [Hemsworth’s character] to create this air of relaxation and good times in a facility that’s doing something much more nefarious.”
Star Hemsworth also produces; the ensemble cast is rounded out by Mark Paguio and Tess Haubrich.
Kosinski’s blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick,” also starring Teller, is set to premiere at Cannes this year before releasing May 27.
Kosinski called the “Top Gun” sequel “so hard-earned” with intricate plane stunts resulting in 14-hour workdays. “It just took a very long time to get it all,” he told Empire Magazine. “Months and months of aerial shooting. We shot as much footage as the three ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies combined. I think it was 800 hours of footage.”
Teller plays the son of late supporting character Goose (played by Anthony Edwards in the 1986 original), the best friend of Maverick (Tom Cruise). Teller noted that actors had to be “incredibly efficient” during production. “You had to, a lot of the time, create an imaginary eyeline to where another jet would be, and when you say a line, your face better be telling the story,” Teller explained. “The sun needs to be at the right angle.”
“Spiderhead” premieres June 17 on Netflix.
See first look images below.