Actor John Malkovich is no stranger to offbeat film concepts. After all, this is the dude who starred in the celebrated comedy “Being John Malkovich,” the premise of which seems too weird to work, but totally did (a puppeteer discovers a portal that leads him directly into the brain of the actual John Malkovich).
Having conquered the stage and the screen in such films as “Dangerous Liaisons” and the play “Death of a Salesman,” it seems only natural that Malkovich would once again try to break the filmmaking mold even if he's never going to read a single review about it. In cahoots with director Robert Rodriguez, Malkovich is putting out the movie “100 Years.” Just not until 2115. That's right, cars might actually be flying before this cinematic creation hits the theaters.
If you're thinking that this is all a big gimmick ... well, you might be right, but at least it's something different. The film's concept was imagined by the folks at Louis XIII Cognac, which not coincidentally is aged 100 years. The reel was ceremoniously locked in a super high-tech safe by Malkovich himself at a Los Angeles event, and cannot be opened by key, code or anything else currently available to man. Instead, it'll pop open on Nov. 18, 2115, just in time for a future audience (pleeeease let them be wearing shiny silver outfits) to descend on a premiere event. The safe will travel the world over the next few months for those who really want to see it.
Billed as “emotionally charged,” little is known about the plot, but teaser clips offer three different imaginings of how the future might turn out. Each has the same dialogue and actors, but in the first trailer, Earth has been overtaken by nature; in the second, aliens have conquered Earth and in the third version, humanoid robots have become our masters. A thousand guests were gifted invitations to bequeath to their descendants to the world premiere event at the House of Louis XIII in Cognac, France. No word yet on if they get extra kudos or a bottle of the good stuff for holding onto those tickets for so many years.
“It's a stunt, amusing but perhaps not valuable except as a curiosity, like one of those time-capsule boxes people used to put in cornerstones,” says film historian, teacher and author Joseph McBride via email.
Dave Cory, who has worked as a first assistant editor on a number of big-budget films, including “Hop,” “Despicable Me 2” and “Furious 7,” talked the concept over with colleagues recently, and made some interesting notes. “The resounding thought was that it would be pretty cool to be involved in such a unique project, partially because the film doesn't have to be good, since you will be dead when it comes out,” he explains in an email interview. He is doubtful, however, that the film will produce any return on investment. “After 100 years the compound interest would give you about 2,000 times your investment, far more than whatever the studio or company could expect to make off the release in a hundred years.”
Even if the safe does open as scheduled, the film could face significant challenges come 2115. Louis XIII Cognac could have gone out of business. People might not want to watch something so outdated (seriously, when's the last time you watched one of those silent films circa early 20th century?)
Film historian McBride also adds that movie theaters could be entirely obsolete by then, or the footage unshowable, thanks to the ravages of time. “Trying to keep the film from looking completely outdated will be tough,” Cory says. “Your best bet is to shoot it at the highest resolution available and keep the format as simple as possible.”
Who knows? Maybe the filmmakers are clued into some amazing new cryogenic/life-extending/miracle cure-all and actually plan to be around for the premiere. This is John Malkovich we're talking about. Nothing's impossible where he's concerned. "In a way I wish all the films I made wouldn't have been seen for a hundred years," he said in a press statement. "I don't know how much that would change the way they are regarded."