Back in October when it was first announced, not much was known about Equals. We were aware that it was some sort of love story, directed by Drake Doremus (Like Crazy, Breath In) written by Nathan Parker (Moon), and it had been announced that Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult would be starring. But what was the film beyond its genre? Now we know: Stewart has revealed that it's an updated version of George Orwell's dystopian classic Nineteen Eighty-Four.
"I'm terrified of it," says the quivering Stewart. "I can't believe I agreed to do it. Though it's a movie with a really basic concept, it's overtly ambitious. Things go wrong because you can't deny the humanity in everyone. It's the most devastating story."
If Hoult is playing some version of the novel's Winston Smith, we'd assume Stewart's is the Julia role: Winston's lover and thought-crime co-conspirator. Without getting into spoilers, things don't go well for the couple, which is presumably the emotional turmoil that Stewart fears.
"It's a love story of epic, epic, epic proportion," she says. "I'm scared. I trust Drake's process and I know we will do something really natural and real. But I told Drake, 'Don't expect that I am going to be able to do this. It's too hard.' But he wouldn't take no for an answer. I've given directors disclaimers before, but never this much."
It's also been revealed that Jennifer Lawrence read the screenplay, but didn't get the gig (possibly by choice). "Jen and I worked together before [on Like Crazy] and she was fantastic," says Doremus. "It's exciting to talk about the character with different people, but it became evident in my head that Nick and Kristen would have great chemistry."
Intriguingly, ABC's story says Equals is based on the 1956 film version of Nineteen Eighty-Four, rather than the novel itself. Odd details and dodgy aesthetic choices aside there's relatively little in the earlier film that drastically deviates from Orwell (despite its onscreen "freely adapted" credit). There are differing cuts, however, and a major change in one of the alternate versions is to the lovers' fate: SPOILER ALERT they're shot and executed together rather than betraying one another under torture END SPOILERS.
In any case, Doremus says his is a film "about love in a world where love really doesn't exist anymore". Does it sound doubleplusgood to you, or do you predict the need for a chopper to chop off your own head? Sound off in the comments below.