By Adrienne Vaught
The visceral imagery and brain teasing journey of this film will captivated and enthrall from the very first frame. Be ready for a wild ride.
“Chimera” was written and directed by Maurice Haeems. This film takes current studies in science and technology into a world of desperation and obsession. Almost everyone can identify with the lead character Dr. Peter Quint’s (brilliant scientist played by Henry Ian Cusick) primary motivations, grief, love and ultimately the desire to control our own physical destinies, our mortality. Throughout this fast paced, emotionally charged drama we peer into the life of a family on the brink of annihilation from a deadly incurable genetic disease. A genius scientist, grieving husband and most importantly a desperate father. It’s a race against time and against his mind. The clock is ticking.
Our main character and his children navigate the very real world of loss and disease that will not wait for the sometimes slow moving world of the scientific process. He finds a way to cut corners of ethics, morality and finance, with the ultimate goal of curing his children and giving them and ultimately the whole human race the ability to regenerate and heal any part of their bodies. In the cutting of those corners he finds himself aligned with individuals who have obsessions and reasons of their own to
see him succeed at any cost. As we follow him further and further down the rabbit hole the tension builds to a crescendo until finally you are with him and we as the audience are asking ourselves the same questions as him. What would I do or not do to save my loved one’s? What of the cost to innocent lives of other being’s? Just because I can does that mean I should?
By taking the science that is being studied today in the fields of bio-engineering, genetics, cloning and nanotechnology the questions that our main character faces in this film may be questions we should all be asking ourselves right now. How far is too far? After so much scientific manipulation when do we cease being human? What happens then to human rights if we are then no longer human? All the rules that govern society may change.
This brilliant first film by Murice Haeems is incredible from start to finish. The talent inspired. Never boring. Always moving and engaging. A must watch for everyone.
“The light was never meant to outlast the dark.”
-Line from Chimera-
I was able to sit down and have a in depth conversation with Maurice Haeems director and writer of Chimera. Erika Ervin actress playing Dita Gruze and Karishma Ahluwalia actress playing Jessie (Quint’s wife) shortly after “ the film’s success at the Phoenix Film Festival 2018.
Adrienne Vaught: Tell Me about becoming a screen writer.
Maurice Haeems: The script came after many years in other careers such as engineering, finance and entrepreneur. My first and longest love has always been telling a story. I gave myself a present for my 47th birthday and that was a screen writing class and took film making class in my spare time. I have always loved graphic novels.
AV: How long was the journey?
MH: (Laughing) A lifetime! No, it really took about three years from start to finish.
AV: What was your process in finding the talent for the film?
MH: It was a struggle at first since this was my first film and we had some serious budget constraints. Mark Tillman a brilliant casting director helped find the perfect actors/actresses for this film.
AV: to Erika Ervin (Dita Gruze) henchperson to villain Masterson: How did you find the motivation for your character.
EE: Maurice and I really created a backstory for my character so that I could understand her absolute loyalty to Masterson (villain) even though you don’t see that in the film. That is the way for me to really understand the driving force of my character.
AV: to Karishma Ahluwalia (Jessie Quint’s wife): How did you see Jessie’s relationship with Quint?
KA: Jessie is angel like his comfort and a contrast from the dark reality in which he lives to an almost dreamlike state she shows up when he is most vulnerable and at a turning point in his consciousness.
AV: Tell me about working with kids especially when their characters are so crucial to such a complex and brutal narrative. Very life and death subject matter. How did you help them find their characters?
MH: Well luckily the kids that played in the film are my son Raviv and Kaavya the daughter of my business partner and fellow producer Jay Sitaram. These kids have been absorbing this material for quite a while even before the movie started production. They already understood their characters and the material quite well. The dry ice bomb in the film was my son Raviv’s idea. So it truly has been a family project.
AV: to EE & KA: How has making this film Changed you:
EE: My father is a biologist so in that sense the ethical questions in scientific study is familiar to me. But making this film really made me think about the evolutionary threshold of the human as a biological organism and have we reached that threshold?
KA: I understand through this project that science has the possibility to change us, but then will we still be human? I keep thinking of the Samuel Beckett quote that went something like this “if I had all these things would I use it?”
In the end the journey and cost of many a scientific discovery can be very high every way that you look at it. Is it worth it? Only time and history will tell.
Thank you to Maurice, Ericka and Karishma for spending some time today to discuss Chimera a groundbreaking film about love, loss, family, science and what it means to be human.[TAOM]