WHEATON – In an age when technology permeates almost all parts of life, what is its role – and what should be its role – in love?
University of Iowa student and Wheaton resident Ryan Eakins addressed that question in his short film, "Google Me Love," which was recently selected to be part of the Independent Filmmakers Showcase from May 27 to June 10 at the Beverly Hills Music Hall.
Though it is his first film, he had high-profile help in executive producers Lana and Andy Wachowski ("The Matrix" trilogy, "Cloud Atlas") – who also happen to be his aunt and uncle.
Eakins recently spoke to Suburban Life reporter Nathan Lurz.
Lurz: Tell me about your film.
Eakins: Well, you've got Austin and Margot as the main characters, who are dating, but they're both kind of unsure about the relationship. It opens in a bar with Austin talking to his friend P.J. about how he sees all these ads that Google has running which will, based off of your search history and where you visit online, it will cater your advertisements to you. He basically asks, "Why don't they have that for people so you can know that this is who I should be with forever?"
Lurz: Why did you decide to make the movie?
Eakins: I was working as a PA on "Cloud Atlas" in the arts department, so that means I did a bunch of different things. I ran around organizing concept art, getting coffee – I got a lot of coffee – and I helped put together some of the sets when they were on location. ... I worked on (the Wachowskis' new movie) "Jupiter Ascending" as a PA as well, and in a time where there were a few months off, they asked me if I wanted to do a short movie for them, and of course I said yes. ...
When Lana and Andy me to do a movie they said they wanted to do something about love. I started with a bunch of stories thrown together to describe love and look at what's going on with it today. Is there a sort of postmodern conception of love? Is it just a Victorian thing? Does it still exist or is it just chemicals?
It started as that, and all of these stories ended up having a narrative arc.
Lurz: How do you think those themes have been represented in other films or media?
Eakins: Well, I think it's hard for any movie, and this is a problem that I ran into because in some ways it's hard to say everything in 13 minutes – I think it's hard to tackle even one topic in an hour and a half. ...
"Don Jon" came out all about porn and watching porn, and sometimes I think the conventions of how it needs to turn out so that an audience will see it can affect some of the themes, but I think that there is a really interesting dialogue going on right now about what the effects of having an unbelievable amount of technology are.
Lurz: What tone did you try to set with the movie?
Eakins: I guess I was being inquisitive. It's about the inquiry into the subject ... it's about the navigation of these super hyper-stimulating things that are going on in our world and "What do I want and what makes me happy," not totally dismissing technology.
That's kind of the point: the problem has become there are 50,000 people out there that I could be with, so why should I be with one person? I think the answer the movie comes to is, "I don't know."
Lurz: What kind of role did your aunt and uncle have in the process?
Eakins: I grew up around them, I played D&D with them when I was a kid. ... they would have a lot of advice as storytellers that proved to be totally invaluable ... all these storytelling devices and their thoughts about the narrative were the thing that allowed the movie to be what it is.
About the film
"Google Me Love," features Chicago actors LaRoyce Hawkins, Allison Torem and Adam Brown and has an original soundtrack by Ethan Stoller. It will be screened during the Independent Film Showcase at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Beverly Hills Music Hall. For more information, visit www.ifsfilm.com.