Exclusive: Amenabar Interested in Making More Astronomer Movies
by Alex Billington
May 25, 2009
Now that the 2009 Cannes Film Festival has officially to an end, it's time to look forward to what's next from some of the filmmakers who walked the red carpet. While I don't expect Alejandro Amenabar's Agora to come out of the fest with a huge amount of buzz, it will eventually play well in US theaters (once it's bought) and should at least receive some acclaim for its stunning production design. I had the chance to speak with writer and director Alejandro Amenabar (seen above on set) last week - the full interview will be up tomorrow - and he mentioned some ideas for continuing on with more astronomer based movies.
Agora focuses on the character of Hypatia, played by Rachel Weisz, an astronomer, philosopher, and professor who wasa essentially at the middle of the radical religious changes that occurred in the city of Alexandria in Roman Egypt in 391 AD. As I was talking to Amenabar, I mentioned that I was fascinated by seeing her attempts to discover why we have seasons and how exactly our planet orbits the sun. She doesn't figure out the answers to any of those questions before her death, but I'd love to see that astrophysics discovery storyline lead all the way up to today. Amenabar said he's actually already working on that.
"Well actually I'm seriously thinking about continuing the astronomy plot through different characters in the future. So the next one you have is Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton and finally, Einstein. That's an interesting thing, you can follow the line of their thinking."
Amenabar briefly talked about how he could follow the astronomical discovery timeline right up to today.
"[It leads right up to] the big drama for astrophysics nowadays, which is trying to find the theory for everything. But these people are trying to deal with what this is all about. It's almost like The Da Vinci Code, but in a serious way."
Although I know that Agora won't necessarily be everyone's favorite film (it received mixed reviews in Cannes), it is at least a very fascinating story, and I'm sure I won't be the only one who will want to see much more beyond what it shows us. Thankfully, it sounds as if Amenabar is actually considering telling more of those stories. Although, the five scientists he mentions are not female, and I think that was the driving force behind Agora and also why it worked so well this time. I'm a bit concerned that he won't be able to pull together as good of a story with those five, though I'm likely over analyzing this too early.
We'll let you know when or if Amenabar ever does get any of these other projects off the ground and in development. But for now, I think it's best to keep our sights set on Agora and its theatrical debut here in the US, whenever that may be. And while we're waiting for that, be sure to check out our full interview with Alejandro Amenabar when it's published tomorrow. Could a movie about Galileo be any good?