"T.I.M." is a sci-fi thriller that explores the potential dangers of having a humanoid robot in the home.
The film is described as "part scary, part cautionary tale, and all-round entertaining."
Eamon Farren, who plays the humanoid robot T.I.M., worked with movement coaches to develop a unique physicality for the character.
T.I.M. is about to make everyone question if having a humanoid robot in their home is actually a good idea in the long run. The sci-fi thriller follows married couple, Abi (Georgina Campbell) and Paul (Mark Rowley), as they head into their new home and meet the humanoid robot T.I.M. (Eamon Farren), who helps to take care of their house and other menial tasks such as shopping and gardening. While everything seems to go well at first, events go pear shaped when T.I.M. decides to do his own thing. In Fortress of Solitude’s T.I.M. review, the film is called “part scary, part cautionary tale, and all-round entertaining.”
We chatted to Mark Rowley and Eamon Farren about their roles in the film and how they approached their specific characters. The pair revealed interesting details about bringing the film to life, as well as if they would welcome a real-life version of T.I.M. into their own homes.
Fortress of Solitude: Eamon, when speaking to director Spencer Brown, he discussed the approach toward the character of T.I.M. As a performer, was there any conscious adjustment made to play a humanoid robot character?
Eamon Farren: Yeah, I think Spencer was really great at giving me free range to work it out. And it was one of the most important things to me, because I think both Spencer and I realised very quickly that his physicality was going to be very important in how he exists in the space. It also added to the tension and the stakes of the piece where he moves through the space; there’s always something a little bit off with his movement.
I worked with some movement coaches. I watched Memoirs of a Geisha about a year before I got this script, and there was something about the idea of floating and the fluidity of how they move, but also with the sharp edge of efficiency that I thought was kind of beautiful. So that was a starting point and then it just became about simple rules – like no curved walking, always greeted sort of travel… It was a challenge. Spencer and I had to keep on reminding each other to be on top [of it] because we were moving at such a quick pace as well. It had to be drilled in and it was very important to both of us that by the end it was a language within itself. Because otherwise, that can burst the bubble very quickly. So, yeah, it was one of the most important things, really.
Mark, Paul is a deeper character than meets the eye. He keeps the audience guessing throughout the movie, especially about his motives and honesty, because you never really know what he’s up to you throughout the movie. Without going into spoilers, there is a twist too. How did you feel when you read the part for this character and found out how he’s presented on screen?
Mark Rowley: Look, films are created in the edit room, aren’t they? So, sometimes it’s really nice to watch something that someone is gonna change up or whatever. But when I was playing Paul, the idea was: I don’t think he’s an evil guy or anything. I think, like anyone, he has pluses and minuses. And sadly, that is the thing with technology, isn’t it? It’s almost flawless, perfect, but human beings are not perfect. So, I ended up seeing a guy who’s striving to make up to his wife because he cheated previously, which there are people out there who’ve done that and trying to make amends for that. So, yeah, it’s trying to rekindle that love. This is the last chance of trying to make it work with his wife until enter new AI robot. [Laughs].
Following up from that, Paul disappears quite a lot throughout the movie. T.I.M. leads us to believe that Paul might be getting up to shenanigans with the neighbour down the road. What is Paul up to that entire time?
Eamon Farren: That’s a great question. [Laughs].
Mark Rowley: [Laughs]. Getting out of the house, man. Can’t deal with [T.I.M.]. [Laughs].
Eamon Farren: Walking. Just walking.
Mark Rowley: Walking around the village. The soles of his feet… So sore, so sore. [Laughs].
Eamon, the film plays around with themes specifically about humanity’s relationship with technology, and specifically AI. Especially our reliance. Here are people giving out their credit card details to robots, which we are doing every day when we shop online or use our phones to tap for purchases. For you, as a performer and also reading the story, what do you think was the most important thing that came out of it as you watch the story unfold and the film develop?
Eamon Farren: Yeah, I think that’s really interesting. Yes, you’re right – we do give over all that information all the time. And there seems to be a hyper vigilance on passwords, what credit card is stored in what device, and all that sort of stuff. What I think Sarah [Govett] and Spencer did very well was not only put the breadcrumbs to a mystery that that comes together at the end, but really reminded me that one of the most important things between life and death and disinformation is communication really — but human communication and the human ability to go analogue when it’s necessary. It’s a bit of a cautionary tale of how far do we go, while we also live in this world where ease and the ability to do something easier is attractive and unavoidable to. So, I guess the question is: Where, individually, do we draw the line? What we personally want to buy online? What information do we give out? Do we have the ability to choose when to stop or not? And I think that’s sort of a modern moral question when it comes to technology.
So, question for both of you. If someone were to create a T.I.M. without all the murderous tendencies, would you accept it in your life?
Mark Rowley: How many versions of it? Is this like the beta version, or is this the refined version?
Eamon Farren: [Laughs].
Let’s say refined.
Eamon Farren: Refined with no murder.
Mark Rowley: Yeah, I’ll tell you what… Because think about this one before saying no, Eamon, you could put it in the shed. You can bring it out when you use it to be like, “Oh, man, I’ve got to do the gardening.” “I’ll get that done for you.” Yeah, that’s done.
Eamon Farren: Yes, I agree with that. Okay. Yes. menial tasks, DIY. That sort of stuff is great. The biggest problem is how hot T.I.M. is. So, you wouldn’t want T.I.M. being that hot in real life, because he is gorgeous. Let’s face it.
Mark Rowley: I’m sure I’m sure there’ll be a couple of recalls. [Laughs].
T.I.M. starring Georgina Campbell, Eamon Farren, and Mark Rowley, is out now in theatres and on demand.
Prosthetics engineer Abi works on her company's latest product, an AI humanoid called T.I.M. that's designed to serve man. However, things soon take a turn for the worse when T.I.M. starts to develop a dangerous obsession with her.
Studio: Altitude, Stigma Films
Running Time: 1h 41m
Release Date: August 16, 2023
Cast: Georgina Campbell, Eamon Farren, Mark Rowley
Sergio Pereira is a prolific and recognised journalist and writer from Johannesburg, South Africa. His expertise encompasses the topics of comic books, film, television, and video games. For over 16 years, he has built up his reputation and knowledge in entertainment journalism by writing for and learning from the world's largest publications.
Sergio is also an accredited Rotten Tomatoes reviewer and has interviewed numerous celebrities, such as Andy Serkis, Ben Barnes, Idris Elba, Letitia Wright and Frank Miller. He is the author of the highly rated fantasy comedy novel The Not-So-Grim Reaper and numerous short stories. In addition, he is the co-writer of the South African crime drama film The Lifesaver. As a regular columnist, he contributes to Looper, Grunge, Screen Rant, Ranker, CBR, SYFY WIRE, IGN Africa, Thought Catalog and Fortress of Solitude.
For Sergio, all he wants in life is to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles eclipse the Justice League as the greatest heroes of all time. Then, he will sleep peacefully.