Karen Gillan continues to amaze me with her range. I remember her from Amy Pond days of old, and now she’s nothing short of a full-blown superstar. What’s fantastic about her is that she always seems to maintain her original integrity despite forays into big (and increasingly fallible) franchises such as Guardians (the saga continues), films like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (mediocre but Gillan was excellent), and The Circle (groan, but Karen was still great, ok.) And there have been countless other movies or shows that have made me think – “Yay! Karen Gillan!”
Now, teaming up with director Collin Schiffli, she’s in a quieter, more subtle role in the upcoming All Creatures Here Below. Although the first teaser seems suitably vague, I’m happy to give it a chance. It tells the story of a destitute young couple who, haunted by memories of their home in Kansas City and on the run, are forced to make a trip back – with a young child that complicates matters further. Yep, it sounds like The Wizard of Oz in reverse (it’s not the first time), and there’s certainly something dystopian, moody and Hotel Artemis-like about it.
Part of the intrigue lies in the mystery shrouding the couple: what’s threatening a peaceful family life for them? There’s also an adorable wide-eyed baby that I’m definitely imploring Karen not to leave behind. Come on! And thematically, there’s long been a tradition of using the big screen as a vehicle to explore poverty and the class divide, so it will be worthwhile to see Collin Schiffli’s new take on the subject.
Schiffli, who also helmed 2014’s Animals (premiered at SXSW that year) has brought a flavor of his previous work to All Creatures Here Below. They both feature a young, at-risk couple; they have both been written by and star the compelling David Dastmalchian; and they both debuted on the festival circuit, with All Creatures Here Below premiering at this year’s DTLA film festival (17-21 October.)
All Creatures Here Below also stars Jennifer Morrison, John Doe, Richard Cabral & David Koechner. A theatrical release date hasn’t yet been confirmed, but you can find further info here as we get it, and in the meantime, there are a few pretty neat stills from the movie to take a look at below.