- T.I.M. is a sci-fi thriller that serves as a cautionary tale about the power of artificial intelligence and technology in our everyday lives.
- The film revolves around a married couple who move into a new home and receive an android servant named T.I.M., who starts behaving strangely.
- The film received a 3.5/5 review from Fortress of Solitude, with praise for the love triangle between the couple and T.I.M.
Directed and co-written by Spencer Brown, the sci-fi thriller T.I.M. acts as a cautionary tale about the power of artificial intelligence and technology in our everyday lives. The film tells the story of married couple, Abi (Georgina Campbell) and Paul (Mark Rowley), who move into their new home and receive an android servant named T.I.M. (Eamon Farren). However, matters escalate when T.I.M. starts to behave in a strange manner. In Fortress of Solitude’s 3.5/5 review of T.I.M., the film is praised for “the Fatal Attraction-like love triangle between Abi, Paul, and T.I.M. proves to be highly entertaining and impossible to ignore.”
We caught up with Spencer Brown to discuss the influence behind the story of T.I.M., and how much the recent buzz surrounding the use of AI played in shaping the movie. The filmmaker also discussed the decision behind casting Farren as T.I.M., and why poor Georgina Campbell goes through the wringer in all her recent roles.
How much of T.I.M.’s story was influenced by the recent rise in popularity of AI?
Spencer Brown: Well, the thing is we actually wrote the film in early 2019. So, it’s taken us a while to get it on the screen. Obviously, the recent issue and growth of AI this year has been great for it. But actually, [T.I.M.] was really influenced a lot by my sort of obsession with all these podcasts and things about big data and feeling that information was being stolen and that we were being watched. We really wanted to try and humanise the way Alexa is in our house and listens and manipulates us. So, we wanted to give those things a humanoid face, basically. And combined with our love of 1990s stalker thrillers led to T.I.M., because we thought he could be the ultimate stalker.
I’d like to find out more about the casting of Eamon Farren as T.I.M. – what convinced you that he’s perfect for the role?
So, it’s been interesting to me, because I spent years acting and doing various things like that, and to see the casting process from the other side has been quite fascinating. Just to be plonked with a list of 30 people from your casting director and go, “What about these 30?” Then we were going down and finding it really difficult to find someone who we love for T.I.M., and I just remember seeing Eamon’s picture. We’d seen him in The Witcher. I was aware he was good, but I looked at his photo, and I was like, “Okay, let’s have a look at him.” Then, when I watched some other short stuff he did, I just thought he’d be perfect.
He’s got such a great look that’s otherworldly but also attractive. So, we just thought he’d be perfect. And once I started to watch his stuff, I saw he could be this crazy villain but also be so controlled. He’s a great actor to work with as well because he is so technical. You can work with him in a very cold way when you need to, if you just want a bit more or a bit less. It’s great for something like T.I.M., where we were just really trying to find the temperature of the performance and work out how it should work over the film.
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Let’s talk about the lead Georgina Campbell. From Barbarian to now T.I.M., why do her characters always suffer? What is behind Georgina always being forced to suffer on screen? [Laughs].
I don’t want to make Georgina suffer. [Laughs]. Georgina is a big genre fan, so if you’ve got a genre movie, you’re gonna have to have to put the character through the wringer, generally. So, it’s not sadistic directors; it’s that she’s just playing these parts. [Laughs]. But also, I think with any film, you always want to put your character through the wringer. Even if it’s a drama and you’re a lead you’re gonna have to expect to have some terrible things to happen to you, so you got to make a change by the end of it.
In all seriousness, Georgina’s character, Abi, is interesting, especially where she lands at the end of the movie, and she goes through a lot. In your mind, what happens to Abi as soon as the credits roll?
I feel like I can’t talk too much without spoiling various bits of the film… Let’s try and find an abstract way to say this. She’s left starting a new life, which has some things that she would have wanted it to have and some things that she wouldn’t want it to have had. There’s a certain sort of irony in that her desires have been fulfilled, but perhaps not the way she would have wanted. [Laughs]. I can’t really talk about that without giving away too many bits of the film.
Directed by Spencer Brown, T.I.M. is out now in theatres and on demand.