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Peter and Michael Spierig: Predestination

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Predestination, starring Ethan Hawke, is the Opening Night film at the Melbourne International Film Festival this year.

Predestination, based on a Robert A. Heinlein short story, is the third feature film co-written and co-directed by Queensland’s Spierig Brothers.

The Spierigs are soon to be flying back from LA to attend MIFF for the premiere of the film before heading to their home town of Brisbane for around a month.

Predestination began its evolution into film when Peter Spierig read the Robert A. Heinlein’s short story, All You Zombies. He loved the story and ‘It stuck with me,’ he said. He encouraged Michael to read it too, with Michael having a similar reaction. They decided that one day they’d like to make it into a film. When it came time for them to tackle the ‘passion project,’ they obtained the rights from the estate holder and set to work writing the screenplay.

As the short story was only about ten pages long, they needed to expand many elements of the storyline. Michael explained that, ‘we added a whole thriller element to the film that is only very briefly touched upon in the short story. There was only one line that mentioned the Fizzle Bomber and we made a whole sub-plot around that.’ Despite these changes, they describe it as tonally very accurate.

Peter said that, ‘the short story is beautifully thought out in terms of the complexity of the time travel and the paradox that happens,’ but the characters weren’t fleshed to the same degree as the time travel ideas.

Once the screenplay was ready, they reconnected with their producing partner, Tim McGann, along with another producer called Paddy McDonald. The screenplay was also sent to actor Ethan Hawke, who had previously appeared in their film, Daybreakers. He received the script on Thanksgiving and responded the following day. He told them that he was keen to be in the film, and asked which role they wanted him to play. They were forced to admit that they weren’t sure yet.

The producers took the film to the Cannes Film Festival and pre-sold it to many territories, starting with the US with other major territories including Australia not far behind. This was of course helped along by Ethan’s involvement.

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