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Rian Johnson Divulges First Details On Next Film; Shane Carruth Reveals Why His ‘Looper’ Ideas Were Too Ambitious

Written by on April 1, 2013 

Released last fall, Rian Johnson‘s Looper was one of the most inventive science-fiction in recent years. Melding intriguing time-travel elements all with a heavy level of blockbuster-style entertainment, it marked a major step into the mainstream for the director who launched his career at Sundance Film Festival with Brick. Making over $175 million at the worldwide box-office, Johnson clearly has a place in Hollywood and now we’ve finally got the first details on his next project.

But before that, we’ve got a little regarding his Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis-led thriller. As revealed during production over two years ago, the director of Primer and Upstream Color, Shane Carruth, was set to help out his friend on Looper with some time-travel aspects, but it never made it to the screen. Speaking to The Playlist, we’ve now got some specific details from the director himself.

After seeing effects test from his ambitious, unmade project A Topiary, Carruth said that Johnson has a “specific idea” for his time-travel film “that had to do with what it would look like in people’s minds when their memories were being written or rewritten or erased.” He adds, “when Bruce Willis’ wife would go away he would be struggling with her being enveloped by this… in the script it was a fog.'” After some talk, Carruth said he worked with Johnson to develope “a concept that sort of mirrored back to the salt-and-pepper-on-the-table conversation, in that people would be enveloped by this large green gravel that would seemingly fall over them sideways or from different angles and it would envelop an entire room or go around the contours of a person.”

Unfortunately, despite falling in love with the idea, the effects were handled overseas “and there’s a certain way it needed to go for their financing to work,” says Carruth, who admitted it would “probably too expensive.” Johnson agreed and thought “maybe it needed to be told through performance and not through a gimmick.” So in the end, Carruth said none of his work made it to the screen. But perhaps he’ll have another stab working with Johnson as the director revealed to /Film he’ll be sticking in the science-fiction genre for his next project. Currently in the scripting process, the Brothers Bloom director said it’s a “very different” project than Looper, with “more cyberpunk.” That’s all we have for now, but hopefully more details will arrive in the coming months.

Looper is out now on Blu-ray and Upstream Color lands begins a theatrical run on April 5th. Check back this week for our interview with Carruth.


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