In the gripping, fast-paced action “Morgan” directed by Luke Scott, Kate Mara along with Rose Leslie and Michelle Yeoh star in a a thrilling, visceral and intense movie-going experience that explores the dangers of reproducing a human being far more advance than its creators.
Anya Taylor-Joy takes on the titular role of Morgan, at one month, she (it) was walking and talking; at six months, she exceeded her creators’ wildest expectations. Morgan is enigmatic and unpredictable—a lab-created being with emotional capacity and conflicting traits that blur the line between being human and synthetic.
Morgan’s de facto family including Amy, Morgan’s psychoanalyst, played by Rose Leslie is quick to defend Morgan’s continued existence but does not sit well with the company’s troubleshooter, Lee Weathers (Kate Mara). Morgan’s family within the institution includes Simon Ziegler (Toby Jones) as the project’s chief scientist; Dr. Lui Cheng (Michelle Yeoh) as a scientist/analyst; Amy (Rose Leslie) is a psychoanalyst; Kathy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a behavioral psychiatrist; Skip (Boyd Holbrook) is a project nutritionist and cook; Brenda (Vinette Robinson) has a background in military medicine; Ted Brenner (Michael Yare) is the project manager; and Darren (Chris Sullivan) is a lab technician.
For the past few years, Morgan’s development has tested this group in ways they could have never imagined. But when Morgan takes a violent turn, they must determine if their creation is a world-changing success, or a dangerously unstable creature.
Rose Leslie is perhaps best known for her role as Ygritte in the worldwide phenomenon, Game of Thrones, a role she secured in 2012 and played through two seasons, alongside Kit Harington and Richard Madden.
In “Morgan,” she plays psychoanalyst Amy who also has a strong connection to Morgan, though her love for it, is “narcissistic, because Amy is mirroring who she is onto Morgan,” explains Rose Leslie, who portrays Amy. “It’s a scary, double-edged sword in the way she loves Morgan because Amy sees herself in Morgan. Amy truly believes she’s embodying Morgan with a soul. For Amy, it’s all about possessiveness.”
The judgment of all the team members has been affected not only by their attachment to their experiment, but by their isolation from the outside world. “They’ve all been in this bubble for five years, so their sense of reality is diminished,” says Leslie. “They spend almost all their time watching Morgan, as if she were in this exotic fishbowl.”
“Morgan” was shot at the old Britvic Plant in Belfast, and in the Tollymore Forest, in Bryansford. Outside and surrounding the facility is the forest environment, indicating both the location’s remote nature and also the therapy used by Rose Leslie’s character Amy for Morgan to slowly become assimilated into the world outside the compound. This “Natural Interface Therapy,” as director Scott dubbed it, is a fictional process but seems plausible in its theory and implementation. “It’s designed to help an organism, like Morgan, develop a sense of soul,” says the director. But the team at this remote facility never anticipated the consequences of its experiment acquiring this very human trait.
“Morgan” opens September 7 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.