Fox Searchlight’s “I Origins” had its New York premiere on July 11, 2014 after winning the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the Sundance Festival this past year. The film follows a scientist, Ian Gray (Michael Pitt), as he meets a beautiful girl (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) and gets swept up in a whirlwind romance with her. After that tragically gets cut short, he finds himself getting reminded of her in ways he refuses to believe. He embarks on a journey to test a hypothesis that challenges everything he thought was true and finds touching and profound results.
From the film: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Steven Yeun, director Mike Cahill, composer Will Bates, producers Hunter Gray and Alex Orlovsky all walked the red carpet at Landmark Sunshine. The evening was sponsored by Marc by Marc Jacobs. Star Brit Marling was wearing a Marc by Marc Jacobs dress.
Read our exclusive cast interviews below:
Director Mike Cahill
Can you tell me a little bit about what inspired this movie because you’re the writer and director?
Mike Cahill: This movie is a combination of my interests. It’s a movie that looks at science and spirituality, that’s sort of the background. But ultimately it’s a love story and it’s about two different types of love. So Michael Pitt’s character, Ian, is this young Ph.D. student who falls in love with two different women. And the types of love are totally different. One is this firecracker passionate, reckless kind of love, and one is more of a stable, grounded, supportive kind of love. And they’re both really, really beautiful. And for me, I’m interested in the types of love. And neither one is better. Like we kind of leave it … you kind of watch the movie and you may have experienced those different kinds of feelings and you realize…well…I don’t know which one’s better. And then it’s like “such is life. This is the trouble of life.” C’est la vie.
Okay, so where does the science part come in?
MC: So he falls in love with the woman with magnificent eyes. And you’re going to meet her, she’s Astrid Berges-Frisbey. She’s beautiful. And he studies the eyes. And so he’s working on the biology of the eye in the laboratory and he meets this woman who has ridiculously crazy beautiful eyes, and they have this romance that’s so passionate and wild. But it doesn’t last that long for whatever reason. And then this lab partner who he’s been studying the eyes with…they sort of slowly have something going on. And that kind of arrives. And that’s Brit’s character.
So how along ago did you have the idea and what was the process like in actually developing it?
MC: I had the idea twelve years ago, but it wasn’t until I met Michael Pitt and we sat down on a general meeting, which is something the agencies do. Some of the agencies have two artists sit down and have a cup of coffee and blah blah. But I jumped at the opportunity to meet him because I had admired him from afar for a very long time. I think he makes the most interesting choices as an actor. And midway through our conversation…I didn’t go to the meeting with a project in mind, I just wanted to say hi and say “I got to hang out with Michael Pitt!” But then in the middle of it, we were having such a good time, that I was like, “I got an idea.” And I pitched him the story of “I Origins,” and he was like let’s do it. And I went, alright, let’s do it! And we began.
Can you tell me a little bit about how you got involved in this movie?
Steven Yeun: Yeah! I was in the middle of hiatus between seasons [on “The Walking Dead”] and my agent sent me this audition and this script. And I was like, oh, it’s Mike Cahill, that’s a no-brainer, it’s Michael Pitt, Brit, Astrid…so they thankfully let me in. It was crazy.
So can you tell me about your character?
SY: Yeah, I play a character named Kenny, he’s a molecular biologist, he’s Ian’s best friend and colleague. But where Ian goes toward disproving creationism, Kenny is going toward making money. So yeah, I’m that one. They kind of go different ways and they kind of visit each other. And through the advancement that Kenny has helped make, it sends him down this rabbit hole of questions and maybe not answerable questions as well.
Can you tell me a little bit about what’s coming up on “The Walking Dead”?
SY: I actually can’t! It’s….we’re leaving from where we left off, pretty intense stuff. We know that these people are no longer to be eff-ed with. They learned a lot and it’s going to be a very exciting season. And I’m not even saying that just to say a buzz word. Some of this stuff I don’t even know if we can show on television. But we filmed it, so we have it.
So why did you decide to get involved with this film?
Brit Marling: Because the director is someone I’ve known since I was seventeen, and we’ve been making movies together since college. So anytime Mike wants to make something I say hell yes.
Tell me a little bit about your character in this movie?
BM: Her name is Karen, she’s a molecular biologist. She works in a lab with Ian Gray, who’s played by Michael Pitt. And the two of them make a discovery that they think they might be able to find scientific proof for a very spiritual, religious idea. And so they go on a journey together that really tests their relationship and their marriage.
Following the screening guests like Anthony Edwards, Jason Reitman, Zosia Mamet, Evan Jonigkeit, and Alex Karpovsky, Mackenzie Davis, Jonathan Ames, J.C. Chandor, Sophie Auster, Stephen Graham, Amy Heckerling, Ry Russo-Young, Antonio Campos, Josh Pais, Wesley Taylor, Andrew Bevan, Leah Hennessey, Zach Wigon, Maggie Betts, Lenay Dunn, Voula Duval, Johnathan Fernandez headed over to Bowery Terrace for canapés and sipped on Red Bull and champagne. “I Origins” is opening in selected theaters on July 18, 2014.