Michael Pitt and Steven Yeun talk obsession and science in ‘I Origins’

This Friday, July 18th, the second feature film from writer-director Mike Cahill will open in select theaters.  The movie, “I Origins,” centers on a scientist whose field of study is the eye.

Michael Pitt (“Boardwalk Empire,” “Hannibal”) takes on the role of molecular biologist, Ian Gray.  Gray's work on the eye is an attempt, amongst other things, to further the theory of evolution, something he knows will find skeptics, but in which he truly believes.  However, he soon finds himself in the realm of the mystical and completely unscientific. 

Cahill, whose first film was “Another Earth,” has returned to the science fiction genre for this film, although “I Origins” is certainly not standard sci-fi fare.  Rather than taking place in the future or dealing with far out scientific concepts, Cahill's new movie takes present-day science and tweaks it slightly to get the ball rolling and explore more issues.  The film focuses a significant amount of time and energy on love, something which remains a terribly unscientific area.

“I Origins” doesn't set out necessarily to tackle the notion of obsession, but the subject certainly arises in the film more than once.  It doesn't merely come up in the scientific realm either, obsession also appears as it relates to love and lost love.

Outside of Pitt, the cast of “I Origins” includes Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, and Steven Yeun.  Marling also appeared in Cahill's “Another Earth,” a film which she wrote with the director.

Last week, Pitt and Yeun spent some talking to us about the idea of obsession, and how they, as actors, view it.  As he described it, Pitt and co-star Marling took some time while preparing for their roles talking to scientists at Johns Hopkins and witnessing their obsession with the curing of cancer. 

“It's a really amazing profession,” Pitt told us.  He further explained, “What I found about these scientists, was that they're extremely passionate, extremely creative, extremely poetic, and extremely obsessed with whatever they were researching.”

Obsession, however, does not only find its way into the lives of scientists, it is prevalent across a number of fields, including acting.  That, too, was something Pitt opened up about.

“If I have, like, any kind of method, as an actor, it's obsession,” he said.  He continued, “I use it.  I think you obsess and obsess and obsess on something when you want it to work out.”

FOX Searchlight is releasing “I Origins” to select theaters on Friday.