‘Kill All Others’: Dee Rees’ ‘Electric Dreams’ Episode Is a Masterclass in Science-Fiction World-Building

IndieWire | 6/7/2018 | Staff
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Years ago, writer-director Dee Rees (“Mudbound,” “Pariah”) had tried her hand at adapting author Philip K. Dick with “Martian Times.” Although the project never came together, she established a strong working relationship the sci-fi writer’s daughter, producer Isa Hackett. When Hackett was setting up “Electric Dreams” – an anthology series based on Dick’s short stories – at Amazon, she offered Rees her pick of stories to adapt. Rees gravitated to “The Hanging Stranger,” the 1953 story of a store owner who discovers a dead body hanging from lamp-post and realizes that he seems to be the only one in town bothered by an apparent lynching.

“I was interested in how to take the body and really make it a metaphor,” said Rees in an interview with IndieWire. “What if it wasn’t about a body, what if it’s about an idea that was in the public square?”

Rees - Script - Society - Election - Rise

While Rees was writing the script, she found herself amazed by what she described as “society’s collective unconscious” during the 2016 presidential election and the rise of Donald Trump. She was glued to her TV – not unlike her protagonist Philbert (Mel Rodriguez) – waiting for someone to ask Trump the obvious question that would bring him down.

“When Trump was talking about making America great again, why was nobody asking ‘When was that again?,’” said Rees. “Get him to name just one decade when it was great, and then his whole premise is unraveled. People, smart people, people who are supposed to be thought leaders — no one asked what for me was the central question that would have un-did everything.”

Rees - Character - Paranoia - Person - Awake

Rees found herself filled with her character’s paranoia over being the only person awake in the face of madness. Current events and her sci-fi story became one when Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins wrote on Facebook that...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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