In recent years, one of the most exciting director pairings has been that of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. Having worked separately on some shorts, the duo first came together for 2012’s Resolution, a film that turned heads and positioned Benson and Moorhead as a force to be reckoned with. They then followed that up with Spring, a film that Guillermo del Toro himself declared to be “one of the best horror films of this decade.” All before coming out with a quasi-sequel to Resolution with The Endless. The writer/director duo can apparently do it all, working as editors, cinematographers and even actors in their own movies.
And now their next project is in the pipeline. As reported by Deadline, Benson and Moorhead will re-team with The Endless producer David Lawson Jr. for a “sci-fi thriller” called Synchronic, with a script written by Benson. The film is described as follows:
“two New Orleans paramedics, whose lives are ripped apart after encountering a series of horrific deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects.”
Now that sounds like something we can get on board with.
And if that’s not enough for you, the directing duo has brought along with them some strong talent. Along for this wild ride are Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan, as the two paramedics in question. The actors are, of course, best known for their roles in two hugely popular movie series– Mackie as Falon in the Marvel movies, and Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades. But beyond their best-known roles, both actors have plenty more to offer.
Speaking about the casting, Benson and Moorhead said:
“Being huge fans of the nuanced, brilliant work of Anthony and Jamie, this is a filmmaker’s wildest dream come true. They each possess an extraordinary depth of personal experiences, humor, and pathos that brings a massive wellspring of humanity to the battle-scarred partnership being portrayed. We’ve found the perfect collaborators to tell a bold, frightening, heartstring-tugging story.”
No disagreements here. Mackie might have become a household name after his charismatic turn in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but he was making an impression long before that. Early performances included small roles in 8 Mile and Half Nelson, but it was Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker that made audiences pay attention. And beyond his portrayal of Steve Rogers’ co-best friend, Mackie also gave a rousing performance as Martin Luther King Jr. in the HBO movie All the Way, which saw him go head to head with Bryan Cranston’s Lyndon B. Johnson.
Dornan, on the other hand, made his debut in Sofia Coppola’s underrated Marie Antoinette, as the dashing Count Axel Fersen. In which he set himself up as the perfect choice for the titular role in Fifty Shades of Grey. Now those movies get a lot more hostility than they deserve for basically being inoffensive crowd pleasers, not least when it comes to the leads. Dornan and co-star Dakota Johnson have more than proven themselves elsewhere, and I’m glad to see them both doing challenging work.
Which brings us to Synchronic, and while we know nothing about their characters yet (beyond their occupations), I’m excited to see what places they’ll be taken to in this drug-fueled thriller. And how exactly that eye-catching synopsis will play out over the course of the film.
Dark secrets and intriguing mysteries are exactly the terrains Benson and Moorhead work best in, whether it be the cult from the main characters’ pasts in The Endless or the hidden truths about Louise in Spring. And with their most high-profile cast to date, you can bet on the directing duo to deliver one hell of a memorable experience.