There are countless films set in in the future and also that deal in some way with nuclear issues, but Syfy’s Atomica introduces a future where basically everything depends on nuclear energy. While it’s a big concept, the movie is actually quite minimalist, focusing - for most of its time - on only a couple of characters; one is a young woman (Sarah Habel) who works for the company behind the nuclear energy system, while the other is a mysterious man (Dominic Monaghan) who might be just a simple employee of a power plant that requires assistance (and where the two eventually get together).
Habel’s character will soon find out that this plant is not really like the others (the man in charge of it is missing to begin with) and that Monaghan’s role doesn’t exactly evokes confidence, before the movie goes for a sociopolitical commentary on how men in power usually have an agenda and don’t really care about the regular people.
Atomica is out in theaters now, and will be available on VOD and Digital HD on March 21, therefore I had the chance to talk briefly with Monaghan, who is best known for appearing in The Lord of the Rings trilogy as the hobbit Merry, though the following conversation is exclusively about his latest effort.
ScreenAnarchy: How did you became involved with this Syfy project?
Dominic Monaghan: I worked as executive producer in the film, it’s been interesting. I’ve been an actor for a long time, now I had the opportunity to suggest the cast and find ways to make the job easier for people. I was going to be on the set anyway!
What was the thing that got you interested in the script?
While reading a script I always think about the character, more than the genre, and if I like the character and can do something with it. For Atomica, there was a lot and that’s why I did it.
For most of its time, ATOMICA is basically you and Sarah [Habel] interacting. What was the main challenge in doing a minimalist science fiction film?
For me it was kind of fun, I really liked Sarah, really liked working with her, she’s a nice person and a great actress. That was fun. I felt sorry for Sarah because her character is well-behaved, keeping all together, while my character comes from me just being wacky.
There’s a fantastic joke involving the Berlin wall and also some references to Oasis and other music. How fun is to pretend that you are in the future?
That’s definitely a fun part of the film, different pop culture references. And it’s fun playing futuristic films, I love doing that.
How did you approach a character like this one, which may not be who he says he is?
Yeah, that’s the challenge, trying constantly to make people question “can we trust him?”. We wanted to leave open that, who should be believed. It’s probably the most concise character I’ve played.