What happens when an artificially created humanoid being, genetically altered and DNA enhanced, begins to think and act out on its own? Such is the premise of the new sci-fi thriller Morgan, which hits theatres tomorrow.
Marking the feature film debut of director Luke Scott, the movie explores some touchy moral areas about creating synthetic life, as it follows a group of scientists who finally manage to create a perfect specimen that they name Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy). As their creation grows to young adulthood in just five years, she begins to realize her strengths and her need to have more freedom – and ends up attacking one of the scientists.
The big guns funding the “experiment” send in a corporate risk-management consultant, Lee Weathers (Kate Mara), to decide whether or not to terminate the “project.” Problem is, the scientists have grown fond of Morgan and think of her as a young woman, not an “it,” and so try to justify her actions as well as thwart Lee’s efforts to gain the truth. Things inevitably go awry and soon they all being to realize that they’ve underestimated what Morgan’s capable of.
At the recent press day for the film in LA, we sat down with stars Taylor-Joy and Mara to talk about the artificial intelligence dilemma, how cool it was to train for the stunts and fight sequences, and whether Morgan should be called an “it.”
Check it out below, and enjoy!
It never seems like artificial intelligence ever really works, right?
Kate Mara: People keep asking us, “how do you feel about the possibility of that?” and I’m like, “every movie that’s been made about that has gone wrong. I can’t think of one movie that’s a positive.”
Anya Taylor-Joy: I believe it’s just so morally and unethically wrong. To try and mess with nature. It’s something the human psyche has a need to do to be more powerful. To create. Being creative is great, let’s just not create a human being.
Do you think the scientists in the film were obsessed with the idea of Morgan?
Taylor-Joy: What I think is really interesting is that Morgan is a human being but she’s also just a dream made into something real. It’s all they’ve ever worked for and wanted in everything. But in human life, you can have the best of intentions but it doesn’t mean it’s going to work out great. I don’t think any of those people went in wanting to do something bad.
What was it like working with Luke Scott?
Mara: Regardless of his dad [Ridley Scott] being a genius filmmaker, Luke is who he is. I think this movie is so impressive, especially as a first-time effort. He was really prepared and had done a lot of research for this film. You could tell. Both Anya and I both spent a lot of time with him individually before we started shooting. And that’s where the most of the work with him paid off. It’s just the conversations in creating these characters.
Taylor-Joy: After that he just created our environment so well. He just sort of released us and said, “Do your thing.”
The thriller aspects definitely escalate quickly, don’t they?
Taylor-Joy: I think what’s cool about it is that it takes place over such a short period of time. I don’t think there’s a moment in the movie that’s not completely necessary and important to the story. There’s no fluff to it. I actually love fluffy films but in terms of this one, it was like, boom, boom, BOOM.
Did you want to do your own stunts in the movie?
Taylor-Joy: One of the first things I said to Luke before we started shooting is that I wanted to do my own stunts. If that was possible, I wanted to do it. And I think a lot of directors may have been like, “um, maybe,” but he was like, “hell, yeah!” He wanted us to do all the training – a lot of different skill sets we didn’t know we had. Drag racing, gun training, etc.. And then all the [hand-to-hand] fighting.
What was the most challenging parts about the training?
Mara: All of it! Especially in heels.
Taylor-Joy: You had the heels and I had the hood. I couldn’t see at times.
Mara: She kept getting blinded by the hood.
Taylor-Joy: It was really hard, but hard in a satisfying kind of way. If you found you couldn’t do something, we would just drill it and drill it and drill it. Our stunt team was so supportive, they really had our backs. They motivated us and got us through everything and by the end of it, we were all so tight.
Mara: It really made me appreciate stuntmen that much more and also just action films because it was my first sense of this is how long it takes and how much energy it takes to get one single punch.
Was there a particular fight move you thought made you look cool?
Mara: The whole thing, really.
Taylor-Joy: You must have had a little moment you enjoyed the most. I loved the floor work…
Mara: Oh yeah, rolling over each other.
Taylor-Joy: And the quick hand work. I also loved my kicks because I used to be a dancer.
Mara: She was good at the kicks. I think they added a few more in because they were like, “oh Anya’s got the length for it and looks badass doing it.” They sort of catered things differently to our strengths. Because of her height and dance experience, she’s flexible in that way, so it made sense to make that one of Morgan’s strengths. I had boxed a lot, so that came in handy.
Was Morgan really an “it” or was she a girl?
Taylor-Joy: I completely understand the whole “it” thing but because [Morgan] is this cesspool of emotions at all times, and I love her so much, it kind of hurts me when they called her an “it.” She’s only five, and she’s so lost.
Mara: So if she kills a few people, it’s just like a smack on the hand.
Taylor-Joy: I can justify it.
That concludes our interview but be sure to check out Morgan when it hits theatres this Friday!