TOKYO – “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart and “X-Men” actor Nicholas Hoult appeared in Tokyo ahead of production on indie sci-fi drama “Equals” to talk up the challenges of their latest roles.
Hot indie director Drake Doremus (“Breathe In”) and producers Michael Pruss and Ann Ruark were also on hand to field questions Saturday at a Tokyo hotel.
Based on a script by Nathan Parker, “Equals” is set in a near future in which human emotions, from love to envy and hatred, have been eliminated. The resulting humans, called Equals, are carrying on peacefully, when a disease called SOS (Switch On Syndrome) begins to free dangerous feelings — and the afflicted ones are exiled from society. After the hero, Silas (Hoult), is infected he becomes close to Nia (Stewart), who is also able to feel emotions, while maintaining a safely unemotional exterior. Thoughts of love and escape follow.
Queried about his own desire to live in an emotionless world, Hoult said: “That obviously would be the easy way out, but no, I like to feel everything, take the highs and the lows.”
“I’m definitely not afraid of ‘feels.’ My life revolves around it actually,” Stewart said. “Finding the balance between the head and the heart is important but I’ve always been very driven by the gut. Every thought or articulated emotion starts in shapes and colors and putting your finger on that is cool, but it’s not necessary.”
Doremus explained that the world he created with Parker has a positive side. “There’s a beauty and poetry to this society,” Doremus said. “Despite what they left out, a lot of things they did right and that’s important to us.”
“The story has been compared to ‘1984,’ but it’s not that at all,” producer Ann Ruark said. “It’s a love story –it’s not dystopian, it’s Utopian.”
Thus the decision to shoot in Japan, whose minimal architecture, Ruark explains, “expresses that Utopian vision.”
“It’s sexy — That’s all you need to know, really,” said Pruss when quizzed about the wardrobe.
“Equals” will shoot from August 4 to 28 in Japan and then move to Singapore for another three weeks.
Indian Paintbrush, Route One Films and Scott Free Productions are producing, with sci-fi maestro Ridley Scott also serving as producer. UTA Independent Film Group, which also has North American rights, arranged the financing. Release is set for 2015.
Mister Smith is handling international sales.