Dan Gilroy turned heads with his very impressive 2014 directorial debut, Nightcrawler. He hasn’t found quite the same success with his two films since, the solid Roman J. Israel Esq. and extremely messy Velvet Buzzsaw, but he’s secured his next project in the hopes of finding that Nightcrawler magic once again.
Gilroy is on board to write and direct the drama Faster, Cheaper, Better, a character-driven film that will reportedly “explore our fully automated futures”.
The film will follow a wide variety of characters, including a union foreman, a young entrepreneur, an indoor farm executive and a tech billionaire. All of their lives are upended when automation and AI transform the world as we know it, forcing them to confront what it means to be human. The film will span 20 years in multiple locales.
So this sounds a little bit like Henry Alex Rubin‘s 2012 film Disconnect, which also explored people’s negative experiences with modern technology through three interconnecting stories, but maybe also a modern day Robert Altman ensemble film, like a technological version of Short Cuts? Either way, it sounds interesting.
Jennifer Fox (Michael Clayton) is producing the film, and FilmNation Entertainment will introduce it to foreign buyers at the upcoming virtual Cannes market. Gilroy said of the film:
“Right now at this moment, there are fully automated factories around the world where robots are literally making robots to replace people in an absolutely endless variety of jobs. Not just manufacturing and production jobs.
I realised when I started doing the research that this is just the beginning of a transformational era we are about to enter into, where automation and AI are really the employment equivalent of climate change. And how utterly unprepared we are as people, and as a world, for what is coming. Every person on the planet is going to be affected by this, profoundly”.
He also explained the benefits of a multi-narrative movie: “When you are telling cross stories, you can tonally switch gears, you can capture different angles. It’s such a big event that’s coming that the only way I felt I could do it justice and now slow it down in a narrative way is if I connected the stories thematically, and have the characters connected in very interesting ways”.
This method didn’t really work to Gilroy’s advantage in Velvet Buzzsaw, and we’ve seen it fail with tech-based films too, like Jason Reitman‘s Men, Women & Children.
But if he gets it right, maybe Gilroy can craft one of the definitive films about our swiftly arriving future. If Faster, Cheaper, Better has anything close to the impact of Nightcrawler, Gilroy will have pulled it off.