Hollywood’s newest thriller, Paranoia, takes viewers on a deadly cat-and-mouse game in which top tech executives will stop at nothing to achieve the global success.
Starring Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Amber Heard, the film adaption of Joseph Finder’s best seller keeps fans on the edge of their seats but not quite as paranoid as the title entails.
Straying away from his normal roles, The Hunger Games star Hemsworth falls nicely into his role as Adam Cassidy, a young stud seduced into being a corporate spy by the glamour and power of the other half. Although the role is not one Hemsworth is used to, he displays suave confidence on screen that translates quite well through his character.
“I like that [Adam] had something everyone can relate to. He wants to climb the ladder, wants to be successful and gets pushed down the road and finds himself in a dangerous position. I’ve always liked thrillers like this and finding characters that will challenge me,” shared Hemsworth.
Joining Hemworth on screen is two of Hollywood’s finest stars: Ford and Oldman. The Air Force One duo play rival tech moguls, Jock Goddard (Ford) and Nicolas Wyatt (Oldman). Their once soured partnership has left the two in a fight that goes a lot deeper than the technology they create. The competition between Ford and Oldman excitingly explodes on screen in multiple scenes, showing sides of the two actors never seen before. Even though these were not their average roles, the two stars were able to develop their characters in ways that went far beyond the directing and script.
“For me, a character is made up out of those things that help tell a story and my own experiences that help me string it all together,” said Ford. “This is a character that is preceded on screen by a body of opinion. I wanted my first appearance on screen to complicate that…I thought there were interesting opportunities in the structure of the script and with the filmmakers to create a character I have never played before.”
Holding Hemsworth’s arm as he triumphs through Paranoia is the ever so voluptuous Heard. Starring as Emma, Heard plays Adam’s love interest but also acts as a symbol for the life he wishes he had. The beautiful Heard has found herself in a multitude of roles over the past decade, but perhaps none with the tenacity and individuality Emma contains.
“I was drawn to Emma because she is independent and desires a future for herself in which she and only she is responsible for,” said Heard. “I love that she’s trying to prove herself in a world that is not necessarily set up to accept her.”
Heard continued to share that one of the major influences that drew her to the film was the work of Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde, The Ugly Truth, Killers). The young director was able to bring a tone to the script that allows the plot to develop ominously, while the characters on screen still appear to have their heads above water.
“I...approach my work as a good person. I like people that are good and have good intentions...you can be successful without sacrificing that position. That’s the character I was attracted to in this piece [Adam]. He does make moral decisions, he betrays who he is, essentially gives up everything that has anchored his life and supported him in the world. He gives it up for this fantasy or illusion of what life is like on the other side of the river,” said Luketic.
Moral messages are something that Paranoia is not short of, but one question that the movie does an excellent job stirring up is the idea of mutual exclusivity between ambition and morality. At times, the film appears to represent a separation of the two, but as the role of Adam is further developed, we see Hemsworth show the opposite.
When asked about the gray area between them on the compass of life, Heard responded elegantly. “I don’t think ambition and morality are mutually exclusive, and it would be pedantic to choose between them, even in movies. We are compelled to characters that have to make such decisions. You have to struggle for everything, including your characters - they have to struggle. I think that’s what compels us to them.”
Although the movie raises many questions regarding the current state of business affairs in our country, the main message behind the film stems from its title, Paranoia. Over and over again, the film relays the message of personal privacy in the face of emerging technology. However, time after time, we see our privacy pushed away to make room for the next big thing.
Ford said, “If you offer people something or create a perceived need or value in a service you offer, people will forget about [privacy]. If they want that newest wrinkle in technology…they will give up freedoms and personal privacy in order to have it.”
Ultimately, the issue of privacy plays a prevalent role in the film, but although Adam may feel he is always being watched, the feeling of paranoia the novel set out to cast is not accurately captured.
“In terms of adaptation to screen process, the book was written in a time when we weren’t in the socioecominc quandary that we’re in and technology wasn’t quite what it became, the monster it became,” said Luketic. “Part of the adaption was updating that. I think we did a great job in regards to that, but in terms of the scale of what I wanted…that’s a filmmakers’ pain and just part of life.”
Paranoia opens in theaters Friday, Aug. 16, 2013.