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EVOLUTION

About The Production
Director/producer Ivan Reitman has made comedies about frat houses and haunted houses, boot camp and summer camp, mismatched twins and twin "presidents.”  However, it has taken him until now to tackle a genre in which he has held an enduring interest.  "I have been a great fan of science fiction ever since I spent Saturday afternoons as a kid watching classic sci-fi thrillers like ‘It Came From Outer Space,' ‘War of the Worlds' and ‘Invaders From Mars,'” Reitman reveals.  "I had always wanted to do a contemporary science fiction movie—but in my own language, which is comedy.  When my partner, Tom Pollock, gave me Don Jakoby's original script called ‘Evolution,' I thought it was a very clever, new alien threat to the world.”

There was one aspect of Jakoby's "Evolution” screenplay that didn't quite fit in with the director's vision: in its first incarnation, it was a dramatic science fiction thriller.  That didn't deter Reitman, who saw its comedic potential even within its end-of-the-world scenario.  Reitman began working with screenwriters Don Jakoby, David Diamond and David Weissman to develop the action thriller into an action comedy.

The humor notwithstanding, the real scientific theories upon which Jakoby had based his original premise remained largely intact.  In fact, the central hypothesis of the story is one held by an admitted minority of scientists, but one that the filmmakers found fascinating.

Executive producer Tom Pollock offers, "Some scientists venture that life travels from one planetary system to another by way of meteors that crash into a previously lifeless planet.  It's called panspermia—a great word—and there's no reason to assume that life didn't start that way on this planet.  The majority view is still that life somehow evolved from the bubbling primordial ooze, and then there's divine creation…but I kind of like the panspermia idea.  It resonates with me.”

"Comedy is the crux of the film,” Reitman notes.  "But it's just as important in a movie like this to give the proper weight to the science fiction aspects.  The science is somewhat twisted and exaggerated because it is fiction and a comedy, but it's based in truth.  It has to make some sense for the audience to get caught up in the ride.  I'm always trying to walk that narrow line between the fantastic and the absurd, between being broad and being realistic.”

The task of striking that balance was carried over to the cast, led by David Duchovny who affirms, "The comedy couldn't undercut the believability of the characters as scientists.  That was one of the challenges of the part that made me want to do it: how do I make him credible and incredibly goofy at the same time?”

Duchovny stars as Dr. Ira Kane, who is the first to discover the meteor's alien stowaways and the first to understand the significance of their rapid development.  "He's a former government scientist, who has fallen into disgrace and wound up a teacher at a community college in Glen Canyon, Arizona.  Ironically, it's there that he makes the major scientific discovery that could change his life,” Duchovny remarks.

Reitman acknowledges that there will be obvious comparisons to Duchovny's star-making series role on "The X-Files,” though, in casting him, the director reveals he was thinking more of the actor's much earlier comedic turn in the comedy "Beethoven,” which Reitman produced.  "I remembered David as being this handsome guy with a wonderfully wry sense of humor<

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