Michael Pitt on Working With Mike Cahill: ‘I Wanted to Connect With What’s Happening in Cinema Now’

Michael Pitt and Mike Cahill at
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Mike Cahill’s 2011 film “Another Earth” wasn’t a breakout hit, but the sci-fi allegory garnered no small amount of critical praise and admirers, some of whom attended Thursday’s New York premiere of his similarly brainy follow-up film “I Origins,” held at the Sunshine Theater and presented by Fox Searchlight and Marc by Marc Jacobs.

One of those admirers was star Michael Pitt, who met with Cahill for coffee in Brooklyn a few years ago; midway through the meeting Cahill decided to pitch him on the idea for “I Origins” — a scientist studying the workings of the human eye who makes an unexpected discovery — which the director had been mulling over for a while.

Pitt, who recently fed his face to a pack of dogs during a memorable guest appearance on NBC’s “Hannibal,” signed up a few weeks later. “I’ve worked with a lot of established directors, so I wanted to work with someone younger, I wanted to connect with what’s happening with cinema right ​now,” he told Variety, adding that “I’ve always wanted to play a scientist. It’s been my dirty little secret.”

Astrid Berges-Frisbey said she immediately connected with Cahill’s script, and met with the director via Skype to discuss the project. Though she was originally supposed audition for the part in person, the director and the actress kept running into scheduling difficulties. Eventually he just gave her the part, which made her nervous because it required her to speak English the entire way through, which she is not used to, and she wanted to justify “his trust in me.”

After the premiere Cahill and celebrity admirers including Jason Reitman, Zosia Mamet, Jonathan Ames, Josh Pais and Mackenzie Davis, decamped to the Bowery hotel where they were feted with champagne, cured meat and very small ice cream cookie sandwiches.

(Pictured: Michael Pitt and Mike Cahill at the “I Origins” New York premiere)

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