Award winning filmmaker Gaurav Seth brings us another masterpiece with his new sci-fi thriller, Multiverse.
Synopsis: Colleagues Loretta, Danny, Amy and Gerry are on the verge of an amazing breakthrough in quantum physics when tragedy strikes. Racing to complete the experiment, Loretta dies in a fiery car accident. Five months later, as the trio struggle to move on with their lives and the work they’d started, Loretta returns. She’s full of energy, enthusiasm, seemingly unaware she’s been gone for months. Are the friends losing their collective minds or has something remarkable happened? Soon, each of them comes face to face with their dead ringer. Professional rivalries and personal relationships surface and the friends realize only one version of them can exist in our reality. A violent correction is necessary to maintain order.
Check out my interview with Gaurav!
So first of all, how did you come to be a part of the project?
Gaurav: The script for Multiverse was sent to me by the writer, Doug Taylor, who’s a good friend of mine. He sent it to me and just told me that it was about multiverses and parallel realities and doppelgangers and I was immediately intrigued and hooked by the idea. He said that he had been developing this with producers for a few years, and they were looking for a director. So, it was through the writer that I got involved and he put me in touch with the producers. I gave them my take on the script and my vision for the project and they seemed to respond well to it. That’s how I got involved.
Multiverses are a really hot topic right now, what do you think sets your film apart from others that are exploring this topic?
Gaurav: I would say that, given the fact that it’s a lower budget independent film, we are constrained in terms of resources tremendously and there is no comparison there, but in terms of having possibilities to explore ideas, I think independent films have more leeway just because there is less at stake. You can take a little more risk. We are in a multiverse. This movie is looking at this subject, this topic, and this idea of multiverses in a different way, from a different angle than some of these bigger productions. And I say that because what attracted me to the script and what I think the story emphasizes is more about the dramatic stakes that the characters face and find themselves in based on this multiverse premise as opposed to just exploring the idea itself. It is more exploring the dramatic choices that the characters have to make when they come face to face with different versions of themselves who come from a parallel reality, similar to theirs. I think the uniqueness of this film is that it’s more about the characters. It’s more about how people would respond to this idea and how they would react to it if they would find themselves in a situation like this. So, this film is more an invitation for the viewer to imagine a little bit, fantasize a little bit, about what would happen if you, during the course of your daily life, would come face to face with another version of yourself, who doesn’t seem to be that different from you… I think this film is more of an invitation for the audience to explore something within themselves and I think it’s an interesting thought to think about, what if you come face to face with yourself? You explore the idea a little bit and it gets very interesting because you learn a little bit about yourself. How would you react to another version of yourself, who maybe is better than you or who maybe is actually more evil? How would you accept that? How would you react to that? I think that is a fascinating idea to explore and I think this movie attempts to do that.
Have you ever thought about how you would react if you saw yourself from another universe?
Gaurav: Absolutely. In fact, that is one of the first things that came to my mind when I read the script. This idea, or this story, wasn’t mine, it came to me from another writer. As a director, you have to kind of internalize it and make it your own. So, the first thing that I did was to go on this little bit of a fantasy trip- what would I do? And that helped me understand the story better and it gave me a little window into my inner world and places that I didn’t know existed and that’s what I thought would be interesting to explore with the characters. And then working with the actors themselves to get them thinking about this, it was very refreshing to see how each and every one of the actors brought a little bit of themselves into the character because they went on this trip themselves, imagining, ‘what if I come face to face with another version of myself?’ It is very illuminating, in a way, to imagine that and seriously think about it. And I hope that this movie provokes the audience to do the same, to take a little bit of a trip.
How did you approach the visual aspects of shooting this film?
Gaurav: The visual storytelling is obviously paramount, it’s the most important thing, especially in stories like this because there are so many things that you can convey on so many different levels, whether the audience, the viewers, realize it or not. But those things are working subtly to create the atmosphere and following the ideas that the movie is presenting. So actually, I did sit down and put a lot of thought into the visual aspect of it. I wrote a visual treatment for the film, and it was kind of selling my vision to the producers as well… I did the same thing with sound, which is another important aspect, how that can help build the atmosphere and help with storytelling. A lot of thought went into that.
I really loved seeing the Deaf representation, especially because I’m such a huge fan of Sandra and Marlee. Did you incorporate this element into the story?
Gaurav: The deaf characters were in the script right from the start. That was one of the things that attracted me to the script. I was pleasantly surprised, you don’t see a lot of deaf characters in science fiction movies. I couldn’t recall a science fiction movie in which one of the lead characters was deaf, there probably are, but I don’t remember. So that was very attractive to me. And then when we went through the casting process, and Marlee and Sandra got involved, I was absolutely thrilled. I’m a big fan of Marlee. And Sandra, I’ve seen her work and I was totally blown away by just the raw talent she possesses and I knew this would work. This would add a very interesting angle to the story, which is rare and, at the same time, it brings a really interesting angle that you don’t expect and adds so much to the other characters and their relationships. I think their addition really enriches the whole story.
I really want to talk about the ending. Was that ending in the script from the start?
Gaurav: Yeah, actually the script that I read first had a different ending. And when I read it, this idea just popped into my mind, I was thinking, ‘there could be something more here. What if we do this?’ And it was already a very interesting story and the ending could really add a new layer to it and just kind of rearrange your mind a little bit. So you know, I pitched that to the writer and he was totally on board.
Yes, it definitely made me think a lot about everything I had just seen.
Gaurav: That was the goal. As I was reading the script, I was curious to see how the ending happened, and I thought it was great. There was nothing wrong with it but I thought it was missing a level. And this idea popped into my head. As you said, it really forces you to reevaluate everything you’ve just seen in the last 90 minutes. And I think it’s so beautiful when that happens. And I hope that will also motivate people to go back and see, even with the sound design, if you watch carefully, there are little clues and things that you might be able to tune into. I hope that people are intrigued by the ending and reevaluate what they’ve just seen and maybe even go back and rewatch. You’ll probably notice certain things that you might not have noticed the first time.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about Multiverse?
Gaurav: It was a blast. It was tough and it was challenging, I mean, all independent are, that’s a part of the game. But this was especially rewarding, given the subject matter we are dealing with. Right now, it seems like multiverses are really popular, with Marvel doing all of that and it may seem like we’re trying to cash in on that. But the thing is, we shot this a long time ago, this was written and developed before multiverses were a cool thing. I think the movie still stands on its own because it’s different. It has a different take on it and it looks at the subject in a different way. And I think it’s rewarding to see that it holds up. It is interesting and it adds to this whole conversation of multiverses which are very hot right now. This film is rewarding and that’s something I’m really proud of.