Drafthouse Films has just released the first trailer for the animated/live-action drama The Congress. It’s the third feature from Waltz With Bashir director Ari Folman, and the premise is out there – but given all the talk in recent years about “the death of the movie star,” maybe not that out there.
The film stars Robin Wright as herself but also as her digital avatar after she dies and… I’ll let the official synopsis try to wrap this one up:
“More than two decades after catapulting to stardom with The Princess Bride, an aging actress (Robin Wright, playing a version of herself) decides to take her final job – preserving her digital likeness for a future Hollywood. Through a deal brokered by her loyal, longtime agent (Harvey Keitel) and the head of Miramount Studios (Danny Huston), her alias will be controlled by the studio, and will star in any film they want with no restrictions. In return, she receives healthy compensation so she can care for her ailing son and her digitized character will stay forever young. Twenty years later, under the creative vision of the studio’s head animator (Jon Hamm), Wright’s digital double rises to immortal stardom. With her contract expiring, she is invited to take part in ‘The Congress’ convention as she makes her comeback straight into the world of future fantasy cinema.”
Based on the premise, it sounds like Folman has essentially created the uncomfortable intersection between Cool World and Sim0ne, bringing along one of my favorite living actresses along for the ride. We’re nearing the event horizon for this sort of thing: it’s just a matter of time for the CG artists to overcome the problem with eyes in digital likenesses and for some performer to sign over their likeness rights in perpetuity while they chill on their island made of Faberge eggs.
The Congress is getting a theatrical release in select venues August 29 before getting a run in New York on September 5. But if you want to catch it early, it’ll be available via OnDemand and iTunes July 24.