In S1M0NE, Andrew Niccol (GATTACA, THE TRUMAN SHOW) presents an intriguing and, for SAG members, a somewhat disturbing glimpse of what the future of entertainment might be. In it, a computer-generated actress becomes a pop-culture sensation for a public that doesn’t know that she’s a collection of pixels. What that says about reality and perception is something worth pondering. It’s a topic that came up when I spoke with Niccol in San Francisco on August 12, 2002. We also discussed the nature of fame, what it was like for Al Pacino to work with him, matching up Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke in GATTACA, and the pleasures and perils of making a satire on Hollywood, when it tends to satirize itself in real life, as opposed to reel life.
SIMONE posits a computer program that can digitally produce an actress that can’t be detected as not flesh and blood. A synthesipian. The film stars Al Pacino as Victor Taransky, the director who uses SIMONE to revive his career, Catherine Keener as Elaine, the studio boss and his ex-wife, and Jay Mohr as the vacuous leading man.