EXCLUSIVE: Emmy nominee Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) and Oscar nominee John C. Reilly (Chicago) are set to lead timely Cannes market package Dreamquil, an AI thriller which HanWay Films is launching.
Set in the not so distant future, the movie — which comes amid heightened industry attention on the role of AI — is being positioned as a cautionary tale about what happens when Artificial Intelligence and automation are integrated into our daily lives. UTA Independent Film Group and CAA Media Finance co-repping the film in North America.
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The film will mark the debut of American filmmaker and contemporary artist Alex Prager, who was nominated for the SXSW Grand Jury Prize in 2023 for her short film Run. Production is being lined up for Q3, 2023.
Oscar nominee Vincent Landay (Her) will produce alongside Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman and Alison Small for Brownstone Productions (Pitch Perfect).
HODs attached include Prager’s long-time collaborators: two-time Oscar nominee Matthew Libatique (Black Swan) as cinematographer; Oscar nominated editor Matt Chesse (Finding Neverland); and Grammy-winning music producer Nigel Godrich as composer.
The story is set in the not so distant future when poor air quality has meant people mostly live their lives virtually from home and Artificial Intelligence has become more prevalent. Carol (Banks) is a dissatisfied career mother, who despite being very much in love with her husband Gary (Reilly), is struggling to find real connection within her marriage and kids, where the day to day familiarity of their home is claustrophobic. Worried she could be heading towards divorce, Carol leaps at the chance to get her life back on track by signing up for DreamQuil’s avant-garde A.I.-led mental wellness retreat. Gary, left to take care of their two sons, is thankfully delivered “Carol-Too”, an identical mechanical clone of his wife. However things take a sinister turn for Carol upon her homecoming. Refreshed and ready to dive back into family life, her robotic and more perfect substitute doesn’t leave and Carol-Too will stop at nothing until the real Carol is eliminated.
Prager has made shorts with Cate Blanchett, Gary Oldman, Riley Keough, Brad Pitt and Bryce Dallas Howard. She has also exhibited at MoMA, The Smithsonian Museum, The Photographer’s Gallery London and The Whitney Museum of American Art among others.
Prager said: “DreamQuil is a way to bring some humanity back into a world hurling towards automation. While we can’t stop what’s coming we wanted to show one version of the nightmare play out in all its absurdity – so we can laugh a little as the horror unfolds. DreamQuil explores my favorite theme of identity and I like to think of it as a love letter to Hitchcock and Tarantino set in the near-future.”
Prager is represented by CAA, Entertainment 360, and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole. Elizabeth Banks and Brownstone Productions are represented by UTA, Untitled Entertainment, and Ziffren Brittenham. John C. Reilly is represented by WME Entertainment and Framework Entertainment.
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