It’s not everyday that you become existential with a movie star – but as Guy Pearce’s new film takes place in a futuristic world where realistic droids can’t be discerned from real people, he wonders what is that of being human.
In Zone 414, the actor plays David Carmichael, a former police officer tasked with finding the kidnapped daughter of the man who creates the world’s AI machines.
In order to find the missing girl, her character must befriend one of the lookalike robots, forcing her to think about what’s real and what’s programmed.
Pearce, best known for films such as Memento and LA Confidential – as well as his rise to fame in the Australian soap opera Neighbors – told Sky News that this is a question we may need to ask ourselves as technology of the real world is getting smarter.
“All the evolution of technology and the direction we are heading and this rapid desire for very intelligent people who are inventing technology to create versions of ourselves is really both fascinating and disturbing at the same time,” he said. he declares.
“And the idea that these robots, these androids, will become more human or more human than us, or will they become human at all? You know, it’s also fascinating.”
The actor says he’s asked himself some basic questions.
“Where does humanity really come from? Where is she sitting? Is she just injected into us as humans or is there so much humanity in a chicken, but just because she doesn’t speak we don’t know and so could she to be implanted in a robot?
“This whole idea of who we are and what our psychology is in that kind of setting was really fascinating. “
Despite grappling with issues with AI developments, Pearce said the technology was not something he knew about.
However, the star suspects he will eventually learn from the next generation.
“If Siri accidentally turns on, I immediately say ‘No, stop, I don’t need your help, go!’
“I’m not much of a Luddite, but just an old man I guess – it’s interesting to have Monty, my little boy. He’s only five years old, so he doesn’t really know what is going on yet. is possible on a screen, but you certainly see it being drawn and I know there will clearly come a time, probably very quickly, where it will be one step ahead of me. “
Pearce’s character in Zone 414 is a man of few words. He says he prefers to portray what is going on through his physique.
“I eliminate dialogue all the time if I can,” he said. “I have to be careful not to fall into the pattern of turning every character into a silent communicator, because that’s not good for every character – some people are naturally a lot more talkative.
“But in this case, we later understand the baggage that he brings with him and that at some level he shuts down as a human being – he just does what is necessary to survive … there is something thing in there that I find a little sympathetic and sad, noble or frustrating too. “
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Earlier this year, Pearce played Kate Winslet’s Love For Mare in the hugely popular American crime drama Mare Of Easttown.
As the Oscar-winning actor’s old friend, he joined the project late after another actor dropped out – and admitted that it still seemed odd that he was part of it.
“They had been running for a few months by the time I got there anyway, oddly enough. I did it one day on March 12 last year and we closed. [due to the pandemic],” he said.
“And I really only had about seven or eight days of work, so it ended up taking about six months because we didn’t come back until September of last year to finish my business, and so a In a weird way, I feel slightly disconnected from the show because it was such a brief time – but I also feel very connected to the show because of my connection with Kate. “
Pearce, who was born in Cambridgeshire but raised in Australia, says he was “thrilled” when Winslet, Evan Peters and Julianne Nicholson won Emmys for their roles on the show.
“I was very, very happy for the show, but it was also funny watching the show because my story is kind of really separate from everything else in Mare’s life,” he said. “I was just there, I guess, to kind of remind Mare that she can have love in her life and work really hard.
“So it was funny watching the show because I just felt like I was a fan watching, you know, like anybody else can: Oh, and there’s me – oh that’s right, I forgot I did that. “
Zone 414 is available for digital download starting October 4