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Feature: Paycheck

Forget Me Not…

It's all in the mind

How can you have a future when you can’t remember your past? Stars Uma Thurman and Ben Affleck reveal all about their new memory-erasing, money-grabbing action thriller.

There is a plethora of similarities between Ben Affleck’s new Science Fiction film Paycheck, and his pal Matt Damon’s thriller The Bourne Identity. So many, in fact, that Affleck confesses, “John Woo (the director) went to Matt first for the movie, because he saw The Bourne Identity and he loved what Matt did in it. Matt was obviously flattered to meet John, and he sat down with him, but he was like, ‘I can’t do two amnesia pictures. People are going to say, ‘Why are you doing so many amnesia pictures?’ He called me and said, ‘I met with John. There’s a really good script. You ought to check it out and get in on this.’ As luck would have it for me, John was in New York to meet with Matt and flew back to Los Angeles, and on the plane the movie that they were showing was Changing Lanes. I got offered the movie when he got back. I had just heard from Matt, and I was like, ‘You’re kidding?’”

Affleck portrays Michael Jennings, a genius hired by high-tech corporations for top-secret projects. When his business with them has ended, however, he routinely has his memory erased so as not to divulge any company secrets. Now he’s being hunted, and he doesn’t know why. The only clues that he has are several small objects contained in a manila envelope that he sent to himself before his memory was erased. His only ally is Rachel Porter, a biologist whom he worked with and loved for the past three years, but now doesn’t remember. “Jennings is not a super agent, super spy or a superhuman,” acknowledges Affleck. “He’s an engineer, a man who uses his brains to work backwards out of problems, and now he’s got to work backwards to figure out his life.”

Uma Thurman, who portrays Rachel, admits she was intrigued by the premise of the movie and the fact that her role is the key to Jennings’ past. “He has to find me, in order to find out what happened to him and who he really is. In one scene, he actually doesn’t remember me, and as a woman he supposedly loves, it kind of boggles her mind. I mean, your ego would have you believe that you left some kind of stamp on him, and it’s devastating to her that he could lose that. Still, even though his mind gets wiped, the brain holds some deep memories, and memories of Rachel come back to him in flashes. It’s a fascinating film.”

by Judy Sloane

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Film Review (Feb)

Photo © Paramount Pictures
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Film Review (Feb)
#640, February 2004
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