I Origins

By Diane Carol Harder

Mailed on July 29, 2014

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Dear Eisenia Fetida (aka. Earthworm)

Dear Eisenia,

I just wanted to congratulate you on a job well-done in the new film I Origins. The way you wriggled in just the right way in that slippery Petri dish, with all those hot lights shining on you? Very professional. I wouldn't be surprised if bigger projects came knocking after this.

I'm sure when your assistant read you the script (because, as the movie makes clear, you don't actually have any eyes), you were intrigued by the premise: a molecular biologist seeks to disprove the existence of god by creating eyes in a creature that didn't have them before--and, in the process, begins to question his own dogma. Your agent must have been excited by the co-starring role you were being offered. It probably meant a healthy commission.

But did you have any say in the structure of the story after that point? Things were going so well for your character - spoiler alert: you evolved eyes! - and then you suddenly disappeared. Didn't you think to question whether that might undercut the importance of your role within the story's larger eschatological themes? Whether the audience might question what, in the end, your character had to do with…anything?

As an aside, woman-to-hermaphroditic worm, I'm sure you wish as much as I do that Brit Marling (you know, the actress who played Karen) had been involved with writing the script, as she has been on previous projects with her friend and collaborator, writer/director Mike Cahill. I'm sure all the female roles would have been more fully-fleshed out. The themes, too. But Mike certainly does have a gift for dialogue, I'll give him that.

In the end, I want to reassure you that your work was brilliant, even if the film surrounding it often lost its train of thought, like someone who speaks in unfinished sentences.

You were part of a project that will certainly make people think about their systems of belief, and that's more than Sylvester Stallone can say.


PS. If you're still in contact with Mike, thank him for introducing hundreds of people to the novel concept of being phobic of elevators. From now on I will likely be taking the stairs.

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