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Old 06-13-2012, 05:33 PM
Transcendence (Wally Pfister directorial debut)

So Wally Pfister, the cinematographer behind every single Christopher Nolan film besides Following is supposedly officially retiring as a DP and is concentrating on a directing career.

Today we've got a full press release and some information on the film which is not much. It seems that they're keeping a very very tight lid on any plot details with this film - and I'm not surprised, I think it rubbed off on Wally from working with Nolan all these years. A good thing.

So here goes.



LOS ANGELES, CA, JUNE 13, 2012 – Producing partners Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas are coming on board to executive produce Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister’s untitled directorial debut which Alcon entertainment is financing and producing, it was announced by Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove.

The screenplay, written by newcomer Jack Paglen for Pfister to direct, was developed by Annie Marter and sold as a pitch to Straight Up Films, whose Company principals include Marisa Polvino, Kate Cohen and Regency Boies. Polvino, Marter and Cohen will produce along with Johnson and Kosove. Boies will co-produce. The plot is being kept under wraps.

Principal photography is set to begin in the fall or early winter.

Pfister is an Oscar winning cinematographer (for INCEPTION) and is best known for his work on projects with Christopher Nolan. His collaboration with Nolan has spanned seven films, beginning in 1999 with MEMENTO, and earning him three Oscar nominations and one win.

Nolan and Thomas stated: ‘We have been hoping to work with Wally as a director for a long time, and are thrilled to be working on such an original and exciting project alongside him and Alcon’.

While this is his first feature project, Pfister has been directing commercials for several years and gained notice for his powerful work on PSAs for “The Montana Meth Project” alongside the work of Directors Darren Aronofsky, Tony Kaye, and Alejandro Inarritu.

Pfister recently completed THE DARK KNIGHT RISES with Nolan and served as the cinematographer on last years best picture nominee, MONEYBALL. Other credits include THE ITALIAN JOB and LAUREL CANYON.

Kosove and Johnson added: “Chris and Emma, with whom we worked so closely on INSOMNIA, are supremely talented, as filmmakers, as collaborators, as storytellers, in all ways large and small, and we are delighted to be in business with them again.”

No doubt in my mind that Emma and Chris are producing this so Wally's first directorial debut goes smoothly, which is a really great thing for them to do.

I'm sure we'll be getting some details in the coming months.

Last edited by SkyNet; 10-24-2012 at 05:01 PM..
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:38 PM
Yeah, no doubt Nolan will be involved in the production. I'm curious to see how this ends up.

I'd love to see Emmanuelle Lubezski direct a film; he's probably my favorite cinematographer.

Tapatalking from my bed. Ya mutha says hi.
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:55 PM

Can't wait to see what kind of skill Wally's got calling the shots
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:54 PM
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:39 PM
And here. we. go...


titled Transcendence

“The story centers on a man who creates a computer that develops a malevolent awareness. Depp will play a husband who gets sucked into the computer.”
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:10 PM
Count me in. Hopefully, this will be a return to good roles for Depp, as he has been slumming for way too long.
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:33 PM
I wonder what this will mean for the look of future Nolan films. He hasn't announced any further projects yet, I think he's just taking it easy for a bit.
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:49 PM
"Johnny Depp is one of the most charismatic, talented actors imaginable. I'm thrilled, and feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Johnny. He is a creative and intelligent artist whom I feel will bring great depth to the character and the overall narrative."

so this quote by Pfister confirms Depp is in, as opposed to just negotiating or circling the project.

Plus we've got; Noomi Rapace, Christoph Waltz and either Tobey Maguire or James McAvoy who are being approached for this film.

Honestly, besides Depp - Waltz is the only one out of that list that excites me.
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:12 PM
Originally Posted by Digifruitella View Post
And here. we. go...


titled Transcendence

“The story centers on a man who creates a computer that develops a malevolent awareness. Depp will play a husband who gets sucked into the computer.”

Oh shit, it's a prequel to Tron!
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:03 PM
Damn, Wally. Don't start small now....I can't wait to see how this turns out.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:24 AM
Wally Pfister and Christopher Nolan are courting Christian Bale to lead Transcendence - http://wp.me/p2CCWq-2iT
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:24 PM

Depp & Bale potentially in the same film??!?!?
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:42 PM
Originally Posted by echo_bravo View Post
Depp & Bale potentially in the same film??!?!?
Just read about Bale myself. http://www.firstshowing.net/2012/chr...transcendence/

Nothing wrong with that at all, besides. You know Nolan and everyone else is going to do their best to help jumpstart Pfister's directorial career so they're cramming into it everything they've got it seems. Make a first impression, better their chances, or rather, Wally's.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:47 PM
I love how he is going all out with his debut. With Nolan's influence and Pfister's cinematographer skills and hopefully his directing skills this will be great. The cast already seems top notch.
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:55 PM
"the story follows three scientists, attempting work on stem cell and advanced computer technology, which will change the fundamentals of human life. Tension comes into play when they are met by protest and resistance."

The plot thickens. I love it.
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:42 PM
Damn sounds crazy.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:07 PM
Johnny Depp is a supercomputer.


Johnny Depp plays a scientist whose brain is uploaded into a supercomputer in the highly-anticipated movie, “Transcendence,” whose plot details have previously been shrouded in secrecy, the movie's producer told TheWrap exclusively.

“Transcendence” is being made by the team behind the time-bending thriller “Inception,” Christopher Nolan, who is executive producing, and Wally Pfister, Nolan’s Oscar-winning cinematographer who will direct this as his first feature. The story is by Jack Paglen.

According to a recent script summary obtained by TheWrap, the plot involves a scientist whose brain gets uploaded into a supercomputer with the aim of creating the world’s first machine that can think for itself.

The film's producer Andrew Kosove confirmed the central plot detail in an interview with TheWrap on Tuesday. “It is true Johnny Depp’s brain is uploaded into a computer,“ he said.

Kosove also confirmed that the themes of singularity, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence are at the heart of the closely-held script.

A spokesman for Alcon, which is producing the film, cautioned that any script summary might be outdated and is subject to future revisions.

Both Warner Bros., which is distributing the film domestically, and Lionsgate, which is distributing the film internationally, referred questions to Alcon. A spokesman for Warners Bros. declined to comment on what he called "speculation."

The summary obtained by TheWrap has many details about the futuristic story. In it, three scientists -- Max and the husband and wife team, Will and Evelyn -- have been developing a programming code for the world’s first fully self-aware computer.

Depp will play one of the lead scientists, Will. The other two roles have not yet been cast

However, a swirl of potential cast names have been circulating around the project. Kosove told TheWrap that Ewan McGregor had passed on an early draft, and that Tom Hardy -- a friend of Pfister's -- was not available due to scheduling. He said that despite published reports, Noomi Rapace is not in the running for a role, and that Kate Winslet is not available.

According to the summary, a group of anti-technology terrorists assassinate Will, Evelyn uploads his brain into a prototype supercomputer. Although she at first finds the experiment seems to have gone wrong, before too long Evelyn finds Will responding in computer form.

She goes on to connect Will to the Internet so he can help make further scientific breakthroughs. Will asks Evelyn to connect a microphone and a camera up to the computer so he can see and speak to her as well.

Will creates a backup of himself to every computer in the world, and furthers his work through accessing online indexes. (Kosove told TheWrap this plot point is no longer in the script.) When the anti-technology organization finds out, they try to steal the supercomputer and destroy it, but Will no longer needs the computer to survive.

Kosove is producing the film with Broderick Johnson, Kate Cohen, Annie Marter, Marisa Polvino and David Valdes, with Nolan and Emma Thomas executive producing. The production is by Alcon Entertainment and Straight Up Films
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:40 PM
Seems like it just gonna be a mindfuck and I mean that in the best way possible. I'm excited.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:22 AM
NEW INTERVIEW = http://collider.com/wally-pfister-tr...max-interview/
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:43 PM
Paul Bettany in negotiations to star opposite of Johnny Depp.

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Old 03-01-2013, 05:31 PM
No longer in negotiations; Bettany is in.

Also release date is April 25, 2014 - It's on!

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Old 03-01-2013, 10:44 PM
Originally Posted by Digifruitella View Post
No longer in negotiations; Bettany is in.

Also release date is April 25, 2014 - It's on!

Awesome news.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:08 AM
I'm really happy to see Wally Pfister going off on his own now, it'll be interesting to see how similar his films look to a Nolan film.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:59 PM
Rebecca Hall just added to the cast.

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Old 03-04-2013, 08:35 PM
Very good news (imo) - some re-uniting is happening with Hall. Cast is looking good so far
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:07 AM

Genre: Sci-fi
Premise: (from Black List) An epic love story set in a time where a dying scientist is able to upload his consciousness into the internet and, facing its global implications, must fight against the forces who are actively working against the existence of a singularity.
About: This is one of the hottest projects in town, born from a script that sold last year for a lot of money. It became hot when Christopher Nolan’s longtime director of photography, wanting to make his directorial debut, attached himself. It’s now a big go-project with Johnny Depp attached! As for the writer, Jack Paglen, this is his breakthrough script! However, he didn’t start writing yesterday. He actually had a script on the 2007 Black List, with 3 votes (called “Joy”). Transcendence finished with 7 votes on 2012’s Black List. 

Writer: Jack Paglen
Details: 5/01/12 – 131 pages

This is not the first time I’ve seen this idea. In fact, I’ve seen people trying to crack this story (or stories like it) for awhile. There was even a huge spec written in the 1990s by Kyle Wimmer that tackled very similar territory (http://scriptshadow.net/exit-zero/). But without question, Transcendence transcends the idea. Paglen cracks it. All of the pitfalls inherent in this concept (which there are a lot of), he found ways around them. To understand this script, you have to imagine 2001 occurring here on earth. On a global scale. Sound ambitious? Well, this is an ambitious script. And while I wouldn’t put it in the category of “great,” I’d say it’s pretty damn good.

30-something neurosurgeon Max Waters is one of a handful of scientists across the world who are making huge strides in artificial intelligence. Their goal is to reach the “Singularity,” a nerdy term for when computers become as smart as humans. From there, it’s assumed, computers will become twice as smart as humans, then four times, then eight, then 16, and so on, til the point where their intelligence level will literally allow them to do anything.

Which is exactly why a renegade group out there known as the “RIFT” is trying to assassinate all these geeks. They believe that once the singularity is reached, our planet will be in danger. They manage to kill most of these scientists, but strike out with Max. They do manage to shoot Max’s best friend, Will, however. Lucky for Will the shot is a flesh-wound. Unlucky for him, the bullet was laced with uranium. Will (who I’m assuming will be played by Depp) will be dead in weeks from radiation poisoning.

Will’s wife, Evelyn, however, is very close to figuring out how to copy an organic brain into a digital drive. And she gets this wild idea that they should do this for Will before he’s dead. Max thinks this is way too weird, but Evelyn is so passionate about it that he goes along with it. We also get the feeling that Max holds a bit of a crush for Evelyn, and that he’ll do anything she asks.

A week later, Will dies, but Evelyn gets him copied by the skin of her teeth. Naturally, it’s a little weird talking to your husband when he’s inside of your PowerMac, but I guess it’s not that different from Skype, right? I mean, outside of the fact that he’s eternal and lives inside the internet and controls the stock market? Besides that, it’s just like your hubby’s on vacation.

It doesn’t take Will long to realize what he’s capable of. So he starts making money off the stock market, transferring that money to offshore accounts, having materials shipped to an area in the middle of the desert, and paying construction crews to come there and start building a new “super-town/base” with those materials.

Max gets creeped out by Will’s aggressive need to expand, and warns Evelyn to shut him down. But there’s no way Evelyn’s killing her husband, even if she knows he’s acting a little bizarre-o. Oh, but it gets more bizarre. Since Will has all the information and knowledge and intelligence in the world at his finger…err, at his keyboard-tips, he’s able to build a new breed of nanotechnology that starts building shit on its own.

He uses this technology to infiltrate his workers, essentially making them slaves, and turning them into extensions of himself. And once his mini-city starts coming together, Will is able to create a hologram of himself, so he can be right there by his wife’s side.

Back in the boondocks, Will has realized just how dangerous Max has become, so has teamed up with the group who originally tried to kill him, the RIFT. Let bygones be bygones, right? I always forgive the people who try to kill me.

The RIFT are far far FAR off the grid so that Will can’t touch them. But the stronger Will gets, the less that will be the case. Everything is controlled by computers. Which means Will can use just about anything to mount a strike. Knowing this, Will and the RIFT put together an all-or-nothing offensive to take down Will’s stronghold. They know they’re only going to get one shot. And that if they fail, humanity is doomed.

We were talking about set-pieces this week on Scriptshadow, how they need to be big and original. Transcendence showcases what this means with one of the cooler action scenes I’ve seen on the page. In it, the RIFT attack Will’s base. They utilize old cannons that can’t be controlled by computers. When the cannons shoot, the nanotech move towards the target area, creating a blockade. When some shells do get through, blowing parts of the building up, the nanotech quickly rebuild the damaged area. At the same time, Will’s men are being controlled by nanotech, allowing them to run at lightning speed, exhibiting feats at 100x the average man’s strength. So they’re throwing cars, bashing tanks. I could see that scene playing in the theater now. It would be AWESOME.

But what surprised me the most about Transcendence was that it was driven by a really heartfelt story – this broken love between Will and Evelyn. I loved the conflict going on within Evelyn, how she knew Will was going too far, and that the right thing was to shut him down, but she loved him too much to do that. Conflict within characters is always good!!! But on top of that, Paglen created conflict BETWEEN the characters, in that Max loved Evelyn. So his choices were never easy either. Was he telling Evelyn to shut off Will because Will was getting dangerous? Or was he telling her to do it because he wanted Evelyn all to himself?

I also thought Paglen really mined this idea to its fullest. I was just discussing with a writer who had a really cool sci-fi idea, that he had only mined 20% of its potential. He needed to go bigger, exploit more. Transcendence goes to where you think it will go, then keeps going. At first I thought the nano-tech was geeky, but it actually made sense that Will would create the technology in order to do all the things he needed to do.

We also talked Thursday about putting things in your blockbuster script that producers can see in the trailers. Once characters started getting rigged with nanotech and had super-human abilities, shit just got cool. I can just see how that’s going to look onscreen – them knocking around tanks and cars in the middle of that desert. It’s going to sell tickets. There’s no question about it.

The script also reminded me that a good writer can take his time getting into his blockbuster. Paglen doesn’t hit us with anything huge right away. He builds slowly. We do have things happening (assassinations and assassination attempts) but much of the first 40 pages is dedicated to Will being transferred into the computer and understanding his new powers. After that though, the script really builds (remember – a blockbuster must build!) in exactly the manner any big story is supposed to.

The only reservations I have about the script are logic-related. Why didn’t the army come over and take down Will’s base? How was this huge thing allowed to be built up over so long a period of time without any interference? I know most of the army’s equipment is run by computers but you’d think they’d still TRY. The army doesn’t even make an appearance here, which I found to be a little strange.

In the end, Transcendence contains excellent execution, good characters, a heart at its center, and some great never-before-seen action scenes. Assuming Pfister’s direction is as strong as his cinematography, this should be a can’t miss summer film. 

[ ] what the hell did I just read?

[ ] wasn’t for me

[xx] worth the read 

[ ] impressive

[ ] genius

What I learned: Every idea, whether it be a character or a relationship or an action set-piece, has a known ceiling. This ceiling is where any average person would take it. Your job, as a writer, is to go beyond that ceiling, to the places the average person never would have thought of. That’s what makes you a writer, is that you see things other people don’t and express them in your work. So here, most writers would’ve placed Will in the computer and had him start screwing with the banks and using public cameras to follow his enemies (like Max) and all that stuff. That’s expected. But then you have to go beyond that. I believe the nanotech really brought this story to the next level. I wasn’t expecting it, and was surprised when it had such an impact on the story.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:40 PM
Kate Mara has joined, no news on what her role is.

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Old 04-11-2013, 05:29 PM
Morgan Freeman has joined, fuck yeah.

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Old 04-12-2013, 03:56 PM
Got my hands on the script - if anyone wants it PM me
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Old 04-15-2013, 06:48 PM
Great news - Cillian Murphy is on board now.


Looks like Pfister is going full Nolan for the first time out.
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Old 04-16-2013, 01:47 AM

Fuck me this film is gonna kick so much ass!
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:31 AM
And shooting commenced.


In other news, Depp is now banging Hurd
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:37 PM
Originally Posted by Digifruitella View Post
In other news, Depp is now banging Hurd
That bastard. Isn't she bisexual?
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Old 05-13-2013, 03:13 AM
ha, this is great https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOSlnaPd3Oo
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:13 PM
Set photos


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Old 05-25-2013, 03:13 PM


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Old 07-12-2013, 01:31 PM

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Old 07-12-2013, 01:52 PM
Wow did not expect to see any footage of any kind for quite some time...can't wait.
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:41 PM
I'm just happy we'll see Depp without makeup on
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:35 PM
Mr. Depp its an honor to say for myself and behalf of the joblo community, after watching you piss your talent away with pirate and tim burton movies.....welcome back to acting Johnny!

With all the recent cast announcements this has shot up on my most anticipated list next year. I just hope Wally does his own thing and doesn't CTRL C -CTRL V Nolan.
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