Netflix nabbed quite the unique film project last year when they acquired rights to The Discovery. The film not only manifests as an esoteric genre amalgam, mixing macabre metaphysical themes centering on life after death with a conventional romcom, but it carries an impressive cast headlined by Rooney Mara, who has been placed in a rather unconventional onscreen romantic relationship with comedy star Jason Segel. Indeed, the film’s debut trailer is a mirthfully morose tour-de-force.
Playing against the soundtrack of Roy Orbison’s 1960 classic track “Only the Lonely,” The Discovery trailer is a montage of moments lacking dialogue. Yet, the clip conveys the central idea that the film takes place in an alternate, quasi-sci-fi version of the present akin to the 2015 Colin Farrell-starring romcom The Lobster. In the aftermath of a discovery by a scientist (Robert Redford) purportedly proving the existence of life after death, people are still gloomier than ever. Despite humanity’s definitive question finally being answered empirically, suicides apparently spike to a point that they’re recorded like the U.S. National Debt Clock.
Amidst all that, a seemingly imminent addition to that mass suicide number in troubled young woman Isla (Rooney Mara) strikes up a connection with the scientist’s equally troubled son Will (Jason Segel) and together, they conclude that not all is what it seems when it comes to the groundbreaking afterlife claims that has redefined humanity’s place in the world. Their film-defining relationship centers on shared sorrows and apparent outrage that questions the veracity of the apparent global phenomenon that has the global population searching (perhaps, in vain,) for happiness on the other side of the mortal coil. Jesse Plemons, Riley Keough and Ron Canada also fill out the cast.
The Discovery first came about as a feature film from Protagonist Pictures and Endgame Entertainment before Netflix acquired distribution rights in the U.S. It’s already experienced an intriguing upheaval last year when would-be co-star Nicholas Hoult dropped out just before cameras were to role, replaced abruptly by Jason Segel. The film is the sophomore directorial feature from Charlie McDowell, who, besides 2014’s The One I Love, helmed a few episodes of HBO’s Silicon Valley.
The Discovery will make an atmospheric and inventive premiere on Netflix on March 31. Check out the trailer below!
Our original article below as it appeared on June 13, 2016:
Rooney Mara and Jason Segel Movie The Discovery Moves to Netflix
The Discovery has had its share of bumps on the developmental road. After the abrupt exit of its original co-lead Nicholas Hoult saw the typically comedy-centric Jason Segel step in to a potential genre breakthrough and put opposite of the pathos-channeling Rooney Mara, it now appears that the metaphysically-minded science fiction drama will see another crucial change in the very means by which it will be distributed.
According to a report by Deadline, the monolith of the streaming medium Netflix will make another major movie acquisition out of The Discovery. With the rights now in tow, the feature will reportedly be distributed primarily through the company’s binge bonanza of a service upon its previously-projected 2017 release, also accompanied concurrently by a limited domestic theatrical run.
It’s an intriguing addition to a lineup of Netflix-distributed films that will be boosted by efforts such as this month’s drama The Fundamentals of Caring starring Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez and wartime comedy War Machine with Brad Pitt and Ben Kingsley (and, to the regret of Marvel fans, not Don Cheadle). Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos seems to believe that his company’s latest film acquisition will not only break new genre ground, but showcase an impressive level of global accessibility, stating:
“To describe the story as original doesn’t begin to capture the world that Charlie has created that will envelop you. Our global viewers are going to love this film.”
Indeed, The Discovery could distinguish itself amongst newfound Netflix peers in terms of inventiveness. The story is set against the backdrop of a world where suicide has become an epidemic in the aftermath of the newfound belief that death – in a video-game-esque manner – essentially resets lives back to their beginning. The film centers on Jason Segel’s character, whose scientist father (Robert Redford) was responsible for said discovery. Two years after the apparent revelation, Segel’s character falls in love with a woman played by Rooney Mara who is tortured by tragedy. Together, they will commiserate their shared fascination with the afterlife and apparently set out to prove it empirically.
With The Discovery, up-and-coming helmer Charlie McDowell will certainly break new ground for himself after one previous feature in the 2014 romcom The One I Love and episodes of HBO’s Silicon Valley on his CV. As mentioned, the film is expected to hit Netflix sometime in 2017.