Taglines: God created man. Man created immortality.
An extremely wealthy aristocrat (Ben Kingsley) dying from cancer, undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man (Ryan Reynolds). But all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body’s origin, discovering the body was not the empty flesh he was promised and had a life and family before he was used for his own body, and the “organization” that will kill to protect its cause. To make matters worse, he faces the threat of losing control of the body he now possesses and its original owner’s consciousness resurfacing, which will erase his mind in the process.
Self/less is an American science fiction thriller film directed by Tarsem Singh and written by David and Àlex Pastor. The film, starring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley, Matthew Goode, and Michelle Dockery, was released on July 10, 2015.
Endgame Entertainment and FilmDistrict financed the film, who quickly put Self/less into development after the two companies saw success with their previous sci-fi film Looper. FilmNation pre-sold the film at Cannes in 2013 and Self/less was the first film to completely sell out at the festival due to universal appeal and the strong pre-sales limited the two financiers exposure to the budget. FilmDistrict was set to distribute the movie in the US, but the company shut down and was absorbed into Universal’s Focus Features.
About the Story
Business tycoon and billionaire Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley) is master of his own universe, until he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now on his deathbed, he finds a business card directing him to a man named Professor Albright (Matthew Goode), who informs him about a radical medical procedure called “shedding,” in which one’s consciousness is transferred to an artificially grown healthy body. Damian decides to undergo the procedure and engineers his own public death. Albright transfers him into a new body (Ryan Reynolds) and prescribes medication to alleviate the vivid hallucinations which he claims are side effects of the procedure.
After a period of adaptation exercises, Damian starts a new life in New Orleans under the assumed name of Edward Kidner and quickly befriends his neighbor Anton (Derek Luke). However, when he forgets to take his medicine, he subsequently suffers hallucinations of a woman and child. When Damian asks Albright about the hallucinations, Albright dismisses his concerns, but accidentally reveals that he knows details of the hallucinations that Edward did not tell him. Albright arranges for Damian to move to Hawaii for a change of scenery, but Damian, convinced the hallucinations are some kind of memory, researches a landmark he saw in his vision and heads to St. Louis instead.
At a farmhouse outside of St. Louis, he finds the woman, Madeline (Natalie Martinez), who identifies him as her apparently deceased husband, Mark. Damian learns, much to his horror, that the body he is inhabiting belonged to another man who sold himself to Albright in order to gain the money he needed to pay for their daughter Anna’s life-saving medical treatment. Shortly after arriving at the house Damian and Madeline are attacked by Albright’s men, led by Anton, who reveals that he is one of Albright’s employees. Damian and Madeline severely wound Anton, escape, and collect Anna from school before heading back to New Orleans. There, Damian researches Dr. Jensen (Thomas Francis Murphy), the man who invented shedding; Damian notices a tic he shares with Albright in a video of him and sees Albright in the same video as his assistant, and concludes that Jensen has shed himself into Albright’s body.
Damian finds Dr. Jensen’s wife, Phyllis, in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer’s and tries to get her to reveal where her husband’s research is, but she does not know. Damian soon lures Albright to the home and confronts him. Albright gives him more medicine and reveals that the pills suppress the original personality of the body he is inhabiting; if he continues to take the medicine, his “Mark” personality will eventually be completely erased, while if he quits, Mark will reassert control over his body and kill Damian’s personality instead. But Damian flees when more assassins show up, including another man who he recognizes as Anton due to the necklace that he is wearing. Anton reveals to Damian that he has shed multiple times.
Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, Ben Kingsley, Melora Hardin, Michelle Dockery, Jesica Ahlbery. Victor Garber, Mariana Paola Vicente, Teri Wyble, Emily Tremaine, Steffie Grote
Screenplay by: David Pastor, Àlex Pastor
Production Design byı: Tom Foden
Cinematography by: Brendan Galvin
Film Editing by: Robert Duffy
Costume Design by: Shay Cunliffe
Set Decoration by: Cindy Carr
Music by: Dudu Aram, Antonio Pinto
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence, some sexuality, and language,
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: July 10, 2015