Auggie takes Her one step further. In the popular 2013 Spike Jonze film, the main character was a lonely man who fell in love with an artificially intelligent voice. In Auggie, the main character has a family and the artificially intelligent being has a physical form. But very similar issues arise.
Co-written and directed by Matt Kane, Auggie stars legendary character actor and voice actor Richard Kind as Felix, a man who is given a very special gift at his retirement party. The gift is Auggie: advanced, augmented reality glasses that project a real looking human into your view. When Felix’s family starts to draw away from him, he begins to fall for Auggie, who is played by model Christen Harper in her feature film debut.
We were fortunate enough to get to ask Kind a few questions about the film and his experiences with it in an email interview, which you can read below.
Gizmodo: What about this project drew you to it?
Richard Kind: They offered it to me (joke). Also, it was the lead in a movie, and I don’t get offered leads in movies often, so my arc ran all 90 minutes, and, it was a serious part. Of course there’s a touch of humour, but it is certainly not a comedy. Finally, it’s a part I knew I could meet halfway. I knew this guy, and could relate to what he was facing.
Gizmodo: Was there anything unique about how this concept was shot? For example, were you and Christen Harper ever purposely kept apart while shooting?
Kind: They shot it in a very European style, so we took our time. Sometimes it was about mood, sometimes about character, sometimes about story. It was difficult shooting shots without talking directly to Auggie when she was off-camera, and I was talking into thin air.
Gizmodo: At first glimpse, the film feels like it has a lot of similarities to Spike Jonze’s Her. What makes this movie unique from that film and was that film discussed at all in preparation?
Kind: The comparisons were evident but also completely different. Auggie was flesh and [blood] to me, and at one point she even affects me physically. My relation came out of a very different type of solitude and loneliness.
Gizmodo: In your personal life, are you a big proponent similar technologies that we have today? Do you have an Alexa for example? Do those kind of more artificial intelligences worry you at all?
Kind: Heck yeah. But it’s fascinating. I don’t have an Alexa. I’m very illiterate when it comes to technology, and use my three young kids to help me navigate everything. I have no secrets per se, but I HATE being hacked.
Gizmodo: If you were given a real life Auggie, what would you see when you put it on?
Kind: I can’t answer that. I’m saving it for my therapist.
Auggie opens in select theatres in the U.S. and on-demand September 21.