Atlas: we spoke with its protagonists Jennifer López, Sterling K. Brown and Simu Liu for its premiere

Atlas: we spoke with its protagonists Jennifer López, Sterling K. Brown and Simu Liu for its premiere
Atlas: we spoke with its protagonists Jennifer López, Sterling K. Brown and Simu Liu for its premiere

Atlas. Jennifer Lopez as Atlas Shepherd. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix ©2024.

The topic of artificial intelligence and its rapid development is on everyone’s lips, with news that surprises us every day with the advance of this technology that practically seems taken from a science fiction movie. That is precisely the scenario of Atlasof Brad Peyton (Rampage, San Andreas), the new original film of Netflix which premiered on May 24 about the connection between humans and machines in a future that seems not so distant.

Jennifer Lopez plays the title character, Atlas, an analyst extremely distrustful of AI due to her own personal experience. The robot played by Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the legend of the Ten Rings, Barbie) is responsible for that feeling, since it became a threat to humanity. AND Sterling K. Brown (This is Us, Black Panther, American Fiction) plays the officer who will guide Atlas on the mission to try to defeat him.

We had the opportunity to chat with its protagonists, who told us about their relationship with science fiction, their influences and the fundamental themes that this new film deals with, differentiating it from others of the genre.

Atlas. Jennifer Lopez as Atlas Shepherd. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix ©2024.

—Compared to other films that problematize the rapid development of artificial intelligence, this production shows a more intimate side of the relationship between humans and machines. What was the most challenging thing as an actress about playing this?

Jennifer Lopez: —I think for me, the fact that I filmed for seven weeks alone with a green screen in that capsule. Only with the voice of the robot speaking to me. Imagining everyone around me, on a new planet, or that I had broken my leg, that I fell down a ravine, or that I was fighting with someone. Everything was so fantastic! To make it feel real, it required a huge level of adrenaline.

So every night I literally came home limping, just because I was so tired. (laughs) Because she kept throwing me everywhere, and it was something new! Something new and fun that she had never done before. I’ve never made a movie with so much green screen and I haven’t made sci-fi since. The cell (2000). And yet, it was completely different. In The cell everything was practical, all the sets were real, all the crazy things you saw in that movie were built. So it was a totally different experience.

—What did you like most about this story and this character in particular when you received the script?

Jennifer Lopez: —I think what I liked the most was the relationship between Atlas and Smith. The fact that he was this robot that she wanted nothing to do with and that she didn’t trust at all and, little by little, he is entering her soul and her heart. Just being consistent and kind. It’s a great metaphor for relationships. And it was beautiful! I remember the first time I read the script, I just cried. I cried a lot at the end, it was very nice.

Atlas. Abraham Popoola as Casca in Atlas. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024.

—Beyond these experiences, do you consider yourself a fan of the genre?

Jennifer Lopez: —I’m a fan of the genre, but I’m actually a fan of movies in general. I don’t discriminate, I like all kinds of movies. Whether it’s drama, sci-fi, everything.

—“Atlas” has some elements reminiscent of Terminator, Neon Genesis Evangelion and other film and television classics. Was there a particular movie or series that inspired you?

Sterling K. Brown: —Jennifer loves it Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Jennifer Lopez: -AND Alien! The character of Sigourney Weaver in Alien (1986) was a great inspiration for us.

Sterling K. Brown: —Yes, I love the genre. The way in which you can talk about today’s society by moving away from the here and now, and in that way approach things more specifically. I love The Matrix (1999). I don’t know if we’re all asleep now, maybe we’re part of someone’s program. (laughs) Maybe I need to take a pill!

Simu Liu: —I’m half a gamer, so when I read the script and saw some of the visual references, I thought about titanfall and helldivers. And I love that you mentioned anime, since I’m also a big fan of Gundam Wing. They are great influences for this film. But it also has something very unique and spectacular.

And for Harlan, I was inspired by some of the best performances of artificial intelligence I’ve seen. As 2001: Space Odyssey (1968) and Prometheus (2012). I’m also a big fan of Star Trek! So Brent Spiner in Next Generation (1987-1994) was a great inspiration for me. It’s absolutely iconic.

Atlas. Jennifer Lopez as Atlas Shepherd. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024.

—This film has all the ingredients that audiences like in a science fiction film, but it also touches on deep themes such as the connection between everything that is alive. What is the message that stands out the most?

Starling K. Brown: -The trust. I mean, you don’t get anywhere alone. It requires communication, cooperation with others. And if you close yourself off, you surely protect yourself from many bad things, but you also close yourself off to the positive. I think that Atlas He starts that journey as a very individualistic person because he doesn’t trust people and he doesn’t trust artificial intelligence.

But watching her walk that path and learn over time that maybe there is value in opening up to others and trusting someone other than herself. You have to risk being hurt to risk being loved! So beyond all the technological stuff, I think that’s at the heart of the movie.

 
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