PARADOX is a fast-paced sci-fi thriller starring Zoë Bell (CAMINO, THE HATEFUL EIGHT, DEATH PROOF) and Malik Yoba (“Empire,” “New York Undercover”, COP LAND, COOL RUNNINGS), and is written and directed by Michael Hurst (who wrote NINJA and RE-KILL and who made ROOM 6 and THE DARKROOM). The story, in a nutshell: A group of young scientists are working on a secret project that may allow them to travel ahead in time. They test it by sending one of their own ahead in time one hour. He returns pleading with them to shut it down, explaining that within that hour, they will all die.
Sharon Gissy spoke to Michael Hurst about the film for Daily Grindhouse.
DG: Your film seems to fit as much into the action/thriller genre as it does into sci-fi. When writing, were you thinking of this pacing or the balance between the two?
Michael Hurst: For the most part, it is sci-fi in its primary definition. But you do have to let the story be what it wants to be.
DG: The idea of a paradox is central to the film, yet difficult to explain. How does this tie into destiny and fate, other concepts presented in the film?
Michael Hurst: While the movie is called PARADOX, there’s not a paradox in it. Unlike the concepts in the movies BACK TO THE FUTURE or TERMINATOR, this one splits off because you can’t change things. Being able to change things is a romantic notion, and this is almost like a horror film; you can see it coming, but you can’t change it.
DG: In a way, PARADOX also sort of involves a closed-room murder mystery. How do you think this increases the paranoia between the characters and helps drive the plot?
Michael Hurst: Yes, it’s structurally an Agatha Christie movie with a time machine in the room. I basically did Ten Little Indians, with a time machine.
DG: What was the biggest challenge to work around while making a low-budget sci-fi film?
Michael Hurst: We had all the actors building set decoration, including a time machine in one week. It was a familiar community. And my father works for a special effects company, so we saved a lot of money on those.
DG: What were some other films that influenced you while making Paradox? There have been so great low-budget sci-fi films in recent years, like TIMECRIMES and PRIMER.
Michael Hurst: TIMECRIMES and PRIMER were both an influence, and also TERMINATOR was a really huge influence. I feel like I was creating a respectful homage to TERMINATOR. To me, TERMINATOR and BACK TO THE FUTURE are two of the best time travel movies.
DG: Most of the characters have reasons they want to go back in time (for instance, Lewis wants to stop the drunken accident that made him wheelchair-bound). Did this help you define the characters?
Michael Hurst: Yes, giving the characters motivations and a backstory helps. They all have different reasons, and that helps differentiate them.
XLrator Media will release PARADOX in theaters on Friday, April 15th, and on VOD and iTunes on Tuesday, April 19th.
— SHARON GISSY.