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‘Splice’ of Life

22 Jul, 2010 By: Fred Topel


When writer-director Vincenzo Natali first wrote Splice, it was pure science-fiction. By the time it hit theaters, it seemed like reality. In the film, two scientists create a new lifeform with human and animal DNA. Weeks before Splice was released June 4, biologist Craig Venter unveiled Synthia, a genetically engineered bacterium.

Natali cites the example as proof that real science seems to be outpacing the movies, as he hopes Splice doesn’t turn into historical fiction by the time it hits home video.

“In co-writing the script, I did it in consultation with a geneticist, and I started to realize that this isn’t so far from the truth,” Natali says. “We should make a creature that we can believe really exists because in fact it’s quite possible this creature could exist.”

Splice is a creature-feature in which the new creation, Dren (Delphine Chaneac), terrorizes its creators (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley). Along the way, though, the film asks moral and ethical questions about scientists playing God.

“It started when I saw a photo of this thing called The Vacanti Mouse that appeared to have a human ear growing out of its back,” Natali says. “It was such a shocking image. It wasn’t a genetic experiment actually, but it looked like one, and I just intuitively felt somewhere in this mouse there is a movie. So that’s where it began, and then what’s so amazing to me is to see how in parallel to the development of the film the science has evolved exponentially.”

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