There are few films that I’ve come around on as much as I’ve come around on Mike Cahill’s Another Earth. When the film bowed at Sundance 2011, it was as one half of the buzzed-about “arrival” of star and co-writer Brit Marling, who quite memorably debuted yet another film at the festival that she also co-wrote and starred in (the still far superior Sound of My Voice).
While SOMV instantly captivated me (and continues to do so), Another Earth frustrated and, quite frankly, angered me. Its unique plot ‐ a twin Earth is discovered heading towards our own Earth, and it soon becomes obvious that said twin Earth also contains a twin of everything else, including Marling’s unlucky Rhoda Williams ‐ seemed utterly wasted, with Cahill and Marling more concerned with mining the non-drama of Marling’s inappropriate relationship with a guy whose family she accidentally killed. Another Earth only came, well, down to Earth in its final scene, and that scene’s masterful use of mystery and revelation made the rest of it all the more frustrating. We knew what the film could have been, and it simply wasn’t that. (Then again, the film did win both a Special Jury Prize and the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at the festival, so what do I know.)
And yet. Over the years, my disdain for Another Earth has given way to curiosity and respect. If it’s on TV, I am going to watch it. I want more from Cahill, even if I am not sure if I actually liked his first film (I think I did, but I’m really not sure). Fortunately for me (and, hell, maybe you), Cahill has lined up his follow-up film, and it certainly sounds as if he’s working with some of the same sci-fi questions from Another Earth. He’s even brought back Marling to star.
While Marling will not serve as co-writer on the project, called I Origins, it certainly sounds like a tonal companion to the pair’s first outing.
The film reportedly “connects the lives of the most unlikely people from around the globe. One doctor on the brink of a scientific discovery which will have historical ramifications travels to India to search for the one person, a young Indian girl, who can prove or disprove his theory. The story follows the incredible journeys which bring these strangers together, and proves there is no separating matters of science and matters of the heart.”
I Origins will star Michael Pitt as the doctor and Marling as his lab partner, along with other just-announced cast members (in unspecified roles) Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Steven Yeun, and Archie Panjabi. Will they help answer the lingering questions of Another Earth? Here’s hoping. [Deadline, via ComingSoon]