Spier Films will serve as a co-production partner on Kelsey Egan’s upcoming sci-fi thriller “Outer Edges.” Led by Mike Auret, the Cape Town and London-based production, financing and sales company is behind the likes of Berlinale Golden Bear winner “U-Carmen eKhayelitsha” and Mads Mikkelsen-starrer “The Salvation.”
Egan’s film, in advanced development and about to be unveiled at Frontieres’ Forum, will focus on a group of space travelers on their way to a new Earth. As they get stranded on a strange planet, they are confronted by alternate versions of themselves.
“What would it be like, having to face yourself? How would it feel if your past choices turned out to be poor? It’s not very often that you find something as thought-provoking and human,” Egan told Variety at Fantasia, praising the script by Rob Klecha and Magnus Aspli.
“I am a sci-fi nerd and I have learnt the most about society and our world by reading all these extravagant tales. ‘Outer Edges’ is ambitious, but I like it. I got into the habit of doing projects that some people describe as ‘impossible,’ only to go: ‘Just watch’.”
Working with an intimate, “contained” story, Egan is ready to explore the idea that even space can feel claustrophobic at times.
“The idea of it is liberating, but we assume there are all these planets we can just go to and be well-received. I don’t think it’s that welcoming,” she noted.
“This film will have a very claustrophobic feeling as well, as you follow these characters and their realizations. Most of them are running away from something. But they will have to confront [their issues] in a way they never expected and one that defines logic.”
While what happens to them is strictly “science-based,” assured Egan, it was the characters’ internal struggles that touched her the most.
“What if you were to meet yourself in a parallel dimension and see how all these tiny micro choices you have made in the past changed you and your world?,” she wondered.
“We keep hearing that you should love yourself, be your own biggest ally. But are you really? If only one of you can survive, who is worthy? And how do you make that call? These are dream roles for actors, who will be given a chance to play different versions of the same person.”
The film, expected to be shot in 2023, is produced by Jade Alexander of Little Jade Productions.
“Great sci-fi is always about being human,” she stated. Admitting she looked forward to working with a female director.
“That was so important to me. I want to make projects that I feel will speak to people and have a positive impact on society. Or at least one individual.”
Hoping to “subvert” the audience’s expectations, also when it comes to the film’s visual side, the team will shoot in South Africa, where Egan has been living since 2007.
“It’s a very interesting landscape to show to the world. It hasn’t been overused in cinema. We are going to show a planet that’s very different from what we normally see on the screen,” said Alexander, with Egan calling South Africa “an incredible place to live and shoot.”
“We have such wonderful casts and crews, and they are finally getting the right opportunities, apart from that very colonial treatment of a foreign project coming in and using up the resources. It’s nice to do things differently.”
Egan’s debut feature “Glasshouse” – fresh off its July release in North America – premiered at Fantasia in 2021. Currently in post-production on her second, “The Fix” with “Stranger Thing’s” Grace van Dien, in her upcoming film she intends to focus more on practical effects than CGI.
“I am an old-school ‘Star Wars’ fan – I will do as much in front of the camera as I possibly can,” she said, admitting that having to get creative about solving problems, also because of budget restraints, often makes for a better story.
“Sometimes you just have to cowboy it.”