If you’ve got a head for hard sci-fi, chances are nothing has tested your grey matter more in recent years than Westworld – taking the theme-park-robots-go-bad premise of Michael Crichton’s film and twisting it into a mind-bending multi-layered, time-hopping HBO series tackling free will, memory, and predestination. Now, its co-creator Lisa Joy is ready to bake your noodle again with Reminiscence, her feature debut set in 2030s Miami, starring Hugh Jackman as Nick Bannister, a private investigator with a talent for sifting through lost memories. But when Rebecca Ferguson’s Mae turns up, Bannister falls down the rabbit hole in true noir style.
For Joy, Bannister’s journey is all about moving past tropes to see the truth. “Part of the idea of rebelling against tropes is that, as a woman, you’re surrounded by them all the time,” she tells Empire. “So it makes it so deliciously fun to say, ‘Alright, this is probably how they see it: beautiful girl in a red dress walks into a bar – this is what you think. She’s nice to you – this is what you think. Ooh, she did drugs – this is what you think.’ Right? And to take those different lenses and use it to propel a mystery where the truth can only be revealed when you learn to see beyond tropes.”
It’s a massively confident first film from Joy, who acts as writer, director and producer – and she already has a follow-up to Reminiscence in mind. “It’s a distant cousin, not a sequel,” she explains. “It’s an evolution in theme and a conception of the world and man’s place within it. Plus, there’s a lot of action.” If all goes to plan, it could be unlike anything we’ve seen before. “I wanted to create a new type of action,” teases Joy. “It’s taking different bits from different cultures and kind of fusing a new way of approaching action that I think will be exciting.”