Timur Bekmambetov Making Five Screenlife Movies For Universal


by James White |
Published on

Following the likes of Wanted and Black Lightning, director/producer Timur Bekmambetov began experimenting with the idea of movies that are shot using technology to capture screens, resulting in the likes of Unfriended and Searching, which take place almost entirely on computers, with chat bubbles, emails and webcams as the storytelling tools. Universal, spotting a way to make movies for a thrifty budget and with real social distancing in place, has now made a deal for him to produce five new films.

Bekmambetov's technique, known as Screenlife, will be applied to different genres, and represents a way to work in the current corona-situation. “It is a very organic production process, and what we learned in the past few months is we are the only production technology allowing us to work during the restrictions,” he said. “My actor is in London and I can record his screen from Los Angeles, and he can act and communicate with another actor who is in Sydney, in front of the screen. I am recording their conversation and it’s the same as filming them. There is a story, a drama, love story and they can interact with each other and I record the interaction. It’s not only about faces, in Skype and Windows, or a conference system, it’s also the screen of the character. What I’ve learned is, it’s most important to see your character’s behavior. If you see my screen, you know exactly what I feel, what I do, what I’m dreaming about."

And so confident is he in this as a way forward that he's even pondering the idea of making a Wanted sequel with the technique, which would seem a stretch given its action quotient. "Maybe do the sequel in Screenlife," Bekmambetov explains. "I cannot imagine an assassin in today’s world would run with a gun. Why? He will use drones, he will use computer technology, probably. You don’t need to bend bullets anymore. You need to bend ideas."

For more from Bekmambetov, head to Deadline.

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