SFX|February 2021
The Divergent star talks AI, letting loose and his move into producing
 Steve O’Brien

Theo James is surely the epitome of the “not just a pretty face” cliché. He may be the swoonsome face on a thousand Hugo Boss billboard posters and TV adverts, and the go-to guy when directors want a leading man with F-appeal, yet this 36-year-old Brit has consistently chosen interesting and challenging movie projects, from 2016’s John Michael McDonagh-directed comedy War On Everyone to 2018’s arthouse curio Zoe, to his latest, Archive, in which he plays an obsessive scientist working on creating an android to house the memories of his late wife. Not only that, but last year he set up his own production company, Untapped, with indie producer Andrew D Corkin, and is currently developing a raft of movie and TV projects.

You’ve appeared in quite a few science fiction films in your career. How did Archive compare?

What I loved about it, from the get-go, was [director] Gavin [Rothery]’s specificity. He had been thinking about this story for so long. In a way, you had so much more detail than any of the future-based films I’ve ever done before, even though it was a fraction of the size. And beyond that, it really spoke to me on a deeper level in terms of some of those more complex questions about humanity: whether you can download a piece of yourself or a piece of humanity, a piece of the soul, into a machine, and then what does that mean for the machine?

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