After being Christopher Nolan‘s right-hand man behind the camera since Memento, cinematographer Wally Pfister has just about the best excuse possible to part ways after The Dark Knight Rises. While Nolan has found a worthy replacement for his upcoming sci-fi epic Interstellar, Pfister is deep into production on his directorial debut, Transcendence. It doesn’t hit until next spring, but today brings our first official look behind the scenes.

Starring Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, Cillian Murphy, Clifton Collins Jr., Kate Mara, and Paul Bettany, the film, that’s said to have a love story at its core, follows a scientist named Will (Depp) who is murdered by anti-technology terrorists. His wife (Hall) then uploads his brain into a computer and soon enough Will is reborn in the machine and finds the ability to communicate through it, allowing him to continue conducting his research.

Our first international set footage below (via Mtime) coming from China is brief, but shows our main players on set, as well as a few pre-production layouts (including explosions!) and a message from Hall, who is riding off of her Iron Man 3 fame in the country. Check everything out above and below, along with an official still, our first teaser poster and a quote producer Dan Mintz gave to LA Times regarding the story.

Without giving away too much, Transcendence is about that moment when human consciousness and the insanely fast rise of computing power collide. It pulls from the idea of singularity to tell a truly meaningful story that is more ‘science reality’ than science fiction. This is something that is likely to happen in our lifetimes and that makes it a story everyone can get into.

Transcendence opens on April 18th.

What do you think of our first brief look at Pfister’s debut?

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