Bob Shaye, Timothy Hutton, and The Office's Rainn Wilson on the family flick.
Taking on the sci-fi world is sometimes a tricky thing; tack on being the head of the studio and the director of the film at the same time. That was the task of Bob Shaye on the new film, The Last Mimzy. A pet project for nearly 15 years, Bob made sure this film was going to get made - one way or another.
The movie stars Joely Richardson, Timothy Hutton, and Rainn Wilson (The Office), and introduces Chris O'Neil and Rhiannon Leigh Wryn as the two kids.
Bob said the one challenging thing about this film was just getting off the ground. "I will tell you we understand the challenges of selling this in an affective way. In the beginning, there's a whole subplot between Tim Hutton and Joely Richardson where they're arguing all the time because she has a job, a business of her own, which has been cut out now - a little Ebay business selling salt shakers or something. He was really in the office a lot more, and was on the phone all day; and there was really this sub text about the parents wanted to be what they do and they're blaming each other for the kids being goofy and not understanding it."
Timothy says jumping into a project like this is fun, and always tried to have a lot of that on set. "All of us got along great and had fun playing jokes on each other; we had to. A lot of the movie you're in a room and, for instance, there's a scene where the sugar rises and comes over to me, so of course there's no sugar there and you all feel just so goofy because the direction is, 'Stare at the bowl, okay, one, two, three, eyes go up,' and Bob Shaye is telling us, 'Eyes go up, oh it's really amazing, it's swirling, it's swirling,' so we're all kind of all going like this (mimics being amazed) and then, 'Cut,' and then they playback and we all go around the monitor, and we all look so stupid, and everyone's doing it in different directions, one person's looking over here, and it's not going to work, so it just made for, as you can imagine, a crazy time."
Star of The Office, Rainn Wilson takes on The Last Mimzy; the supernatural/sciency-type thing is very much his thing. "I actually have spiritual beliefs that are very important to me, and I grew up a member of the Baha'i Faith. It was one of the things that drew me to this project, in reading the script and seeing the spiritual and metaphysical journey that the story takes, as well as the science fiction and adventure journey. That's such a rare thing in a Hollywood film and I was really attracted to that."
Also for Rainn what attracted him to the film was the path of the kids throughout. "The children go on this metaphysical journey that ends up saving mankind. We're at a crossroads right now where we, as humans, can choose to destroy our planet and destroy ourselves, or we can unite and spiritually transform the planet into the paradise that it was meant to be. I think this movie has a lot of resonances and I think people are really going to respond to this film. It's going to last a long time; I don't know about opening weekends, and stuff like that, but when people see it and pass it on, it's going to really be a small classic."
Because The Last Mimzy was a script Bob had been working on for so long, it was something he knew he wanted to not only release for New Line, but also direct. "I was a science fiction geek as a kid, as I've said, and one day, when I read the short story (of The Last Mimzy - Mimsy Were the Borogoves). Michael Phillips came in - Close Encounters of the Third Kind (producer on that film) - and it's a story that I love, very famous short story. So I took on the task of trying to develop it; but the problem with developing this story was -it didn't have an ending. The story ends; it's a great story about children's brains not being hard-wired, hardly, and being receptive to all kind of teaching we could never engage in now because everything has sort of come together. And it took a real long, long time, about five writers, to get it finally nailed down; in fact Toby Emmerich wrote two drafts over a period of two to three years and Bruce Rubin wrote two drafts, plus a lot of extra work over a period of three to four years. And there were a bunch of years, over that 10-year period, where we just didn't do anything cause we were just following that rule of 'just leave it alone, you're never going to get it right.' But I hope we broke that rule."
Following the story, you feel the future is really just ahead of us, you can smell it. But Joely points out we need to focus on what's in the here and now to look to the future. "I think it's a great topic of discussion and I love the concept of the metaphysical; I do think that we do have this. They say women and children that created the sixth sense and we can be very in tune with - more emotional and sensitive; people say you manifest what you give out and my big argument is yes. The concept of it intrigues me and I think on a delicate level exists but I think it goes back to the concept of G-d and it's very hard-hitting as we know and I have problems marrying all the different ideas in my head and that's why I love it as a topic of conversation because it's so endless and none of us have the answers. But there is definitely an energy that I believe in and as you said, in the film the concept of time travel that is phenomenal and we're all fascinated by it. Obviously, I have no experience of that and what I have noticed as you get older is there is a feeling of sometimes when you carry the past with you in the present and loved ones are still with you even when they've been gone for a long time and that's how I personally get my head around time travel that past, present and future are somehow intertwined but I have no physical process.
You can check out The Last Mimzy in theaters now; it's rated PG.