“Knowing is good, but knowing everything is better.” No, it’s not a preview of Netflix’s next batch of Black Mirror episodes, but it hits the same chord: These words are spoken by Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), the mashup of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg at the heart of Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel The Circle. EuropaCorp has released the first trailer for the film adaptation starring Emma Watson as Mae Holland, a recent college grad who gets a coveted position at tech company The Circle but soon discovers something ominous at the heart of her new professional and personal social network.
Led by the visionary Bailey, The Circle has developed a revolutionary new way to share oneself online: SeeChange, a tiny glass camera that eerily resembles an eyeball and which streams live footage. “Bailey’s notion is that knowing is good, and knowing everything is better,” director John Ponsoldt told USA Today. “He believes all experiences should be available to everyone, not only the privileged or people who can afford to them. He’s deeply interested in technology that can make people share all human experiences with everyone. He’s a boundary pusher, even boundary destroyer.”
While we glimpse the SeeChange mounted in security cameras and the like throughout the trailer, it’s Mae’s usage that’s the most fascinating: She agrees to begin broadcasting her life 24/7 via SeeChange, launching her from entry-level employee to global celebrity. As Ponsoldt explains, “She becomes a pseudo-celebrity with her superpower, that she’s natural, relatable and willing to speak freely about everything in her life. But it gets to the point where it’s almost a religion and then a glass prison of celebrity.” Not to mention that the movie seems to delve into issues of privacy, surveillance, and human rights.
The thriller also stars Karen Gillan as another “Circler” (one who looks to have drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid), and John Boyega and Patton Oswalt as two of The Circle’s “three wise men” alongside Bailey: respectively, a disillusioned programmer and the business minder. Watch the first trailer:
The Circle comes to theaters April 28.