"Morgan," out in theaters on Friday, is set in a near future
reality where a group of scientists from a corporate AI company
breed a synthetic baby.
Aged 5 but growing faster than a human child, Morgan, played by
20-year-old Anya Taylor-Joy, looks like female teenager and is a
highly intelligent being with outbursts of deadly anger.
When Morgan is told by her human minder that she is no longer
allowed outdoors and instead must stay in a caged underground
room where she is constantly observed, she stabs her in the eye.
In comes the immaculately groomed corporate agent Lee Weathers
(Kate Mara) to determine whether Morgan should be terminated.
"I had to hold back on most emotions because my character is
rather unemotional and very even-keeled and calculated, very
focused," Mara said in an interview.
The film centers on its three lead female characters who include
"Game of Thrones" actress Rose Leslie as Morgan's closest
friend, and Morgan's struggle with gender identity. Half the
scientists identify the being as "her," while the other half
including Lee Weathers coldly refer to Morgan as "it."
Director Luke Scott said Taylor-Joy brought a childlike,
vulnerable and "otherworldly" element to Morgan.
"I did consider male actors, but we talked about it and we
thought it was better to find a great female lead," he said.
[to top of second column]
"Morgan," the first feature film for Scott, son of veteran filmmaker
Ridley Scott, comes on the heels of Alex Garland's 2015 independent
sci-fi hit "Ex Machina," in which Alicia Vikander played a female
robot that outsmarts the humans who created her.
The film came out just as "Morgan" was about to start shooting,
Scott said, and while he called Garland's movie "quite niche," he
added that it made him rethink parts of "Morgan."
"There's a lot of philosophy in there," Scott said.
"I thought that was terrific, but for me it was a good lesson in
that initially I wanted to start moving in that direction. But
watching "Ex Machina," I thought: 'Do you know what? I'm going to
steer clear of this and perhaps be a little bit more entertaining
and go for action.'"
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Peter Cooney)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.