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.

Reminiscence – exclusive

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.”

Empire August 2021 – The Suicide Squad cover 1

Read Empire’s full Lisa Joy feature in The Suicide Squad issue – on sale Thursday 8 July, with five collectible covers. Reminiscence comes to UK cinemas from 20 August.

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