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Marjorie Prime, an Artificial Intelligence Love Story Starring Jon Hamm, Feels Familiar

EW debuted the trailer for Marjorie Prime today, a sci-fi drama adapted from Jordan Harrison’s 2014 Pulitzer Prize-nominated stage play of the same name and directed by Michael Almereyda. It explores the story of a woman “who uses a computer program to create an artificial intelligence that simulates her husband, played by Jon Hamm, after his death.”

Almereyda’s recent work includes directing the Stanley Milgram drama Experimenter, but you might know him best from his version of Hamlet that starred Ethan Hawke. The director has a clear fascination with technology and its aftermaths, so his approach will be interesting to see.

Lois Smith stars as the older Marjorie, with Geena Davis as her daughter and Tim Robbins as Davis’ husband. The story, in its reviews, has been likened to Spike Jonze’s Her, as well as Black Mirror. It notably bears resemblances to the haunting episode “Be Right Back” which similarly dealt with a woman who tried to create an AI replacement when grieving for her lost boyfriend, only to feel an uncanny and conflicted void. We see a similar plot play out, as characters are skeptical towards the emotional closeness Marjorie appears to develop with this AI-version of Walter and Marjorie’s grief is complicated by his presence.

Those comparison aren’t trying to suggest either Her or Black Mirror were the first to explore what it means to use technology to try and resurrect someone or what it means to share an emotional connection with a computer program, though. It’s been a popular sci-fi trope in all kinds of media, for its emotional impact and ability to explore themes surrounding memory, human connection, and identity.

Smith starred as Marjorie during the play’s run to excellent reviews, and with a talented cast it’s likely that Marjorie Prime will feature moving and emotional performances from Smith and Davis. Although the premise might be familiar, I’m always a fan of slice-of-life science fiction and I’m looking forward to hopefully crying my eyes out during Marjorie Prime. 

What do you think about the Marjorie Prime trailer?

(via io9, image: screencap)

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