A Topiary

Shane Carruth‘s Primer is one of the movies that completely blew my mind. It was my first time at the Sundance Film Festival, and I was working as a volunteer. I had heard about this film which was made for next to nothing ($7,000) which had something to do with time travel (one of my favorite story devices). I’ll admit, I wasn’t even sure I liked the film the first time I saw it, but I knew I had seen something special. Like many others, it took a couple more viewings of the film before I could even understand the timelines completely. I dragged my friends into Boston when it came around with the Boston Film Festival, and eventually bought it on DVD (where I would loan it out systematically to friends). Basically, if you haven’t seen the movie, seek it out.

Carruth not only wrote and directed Primer, but edited, produced, composed the score as well as handled both the production and sound design of the film. So what has Carruth been up to since the 2004 Sundance Film Festival? Good question. IMDb lists no credits, and all I had heard about the man was an update from Brick director Rian Johnson, who sent out a tweet claiming that that “Shane is alive and well and has a mind-blowing sci-fi script. Let’s all pray to the movie-gods that he gets it made soon.” io9 discovered a webpage for Carruth’s next project bearing a cryptic message. If you go to ATopiary.com, it reads “Over and over you have been promised ADVENTURE but have not found it.” Weird, huh? Now we have even more information about the film’s plot.

The Playlist has gotten their hands on a draft of Shane Carruth’s screenplay titled A Topiary, and reveals a few plot details (although it doesn’t seem to give too much away:

The script begins with a head-scratching thirty minute prologue involving Acre Stowe, a municipal worker of an undisclosed city in the 1980s …  investigating strange starbursts he sees in the sky and eventually meets up with a group of people who are also researching this phenomenon and its consequences, amongst other scientific projects ranging in subject from thermochemistry to archaeology. The main story … revolves around ten boys aged seven to eleven living in a small rural town (Carruth is ambiguous in both location and time here) and takes up the remaining two hours of the film. The boys are in possession of a mysterious black box called a “Maker,” which in turn creates mysterious white discs called “funnels.” The group of kids are at once puzzled and fascinated by the nature of the box, and eventually manipulate the discs into other peculiarly named artifacts (petals, arcs, fronds, etc.). Their creations and constructions lead up to their manufacturing of seemingly sentient quasi-mechanical beings dubbed “Choruses.” Almost as if ‘Topiary’ were an abstract arthouse take on Pokémon, you can imagine the competition and troubles the beings create amongst the children.

Sounds unlike any film I’ve ever seen before. We need this to go into production as soon as possible!

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