Michael Mann knows his crime dramas. Heat is one of the most celebrated crime flicks of all time. He’s a director who wants to find that kind of drama in different kinds of criminal acts, periods, and settings. Now he’s turning his attention to the world of cybercrime with Blackhat (formerly called Cyber). It was a surprising part of Legendary’s Comic-Con presentation because it’s not a fantastical story. It’s disturbingly close to reality.
Hit the jump for the Blackhat Comic-Con panel recap.
- Michael Mann takes the stage, and says his interest began with wanting to a crime film set in Asia. Then the Stuxnet computer worm hit, and that led Mann to doing some research, and ultimately wanting to tell the story of a black hat hacker who is in prison and must be recruited to stop a cyber-terrorist.
- As part of his research, Mann started hanging out with some black hat hackers, and discovered that they can do 7 to 8 hours of coding in one go, and it creates both a sense of escapism and a bit of an opiate feedback loop. But it’s important to note that it’s not an escape because their work goes into the real world and can create serious repercussions.
- Talking about locations, Mann says they did 74 scenes across 4 countries in 66 days.
- Hemsworth says Hathaway has an unmatched intelligence in the hacker world even though he came from a working class background.
- They did research on the stuff that’s currently in the headlines and “it is the world we live in,” says Mann. “We live in the exoskeleton of the Internet.” They landed in Hong Kong one day before Edward Snowden traveled from China to Moscow.
- Hemsowrth said they had mathematician Chris McKinley provide computer lessons right down to teaching the actor how to go from point-and-tap to actual typing. Of course, there were also lessons about coding and how hacking works. He learned the disturbing possibilities of how hackers can turn our technology against us.
This plays like the first trailer, and I’m not sure when/if it will be coming out. It opens with reminding us how much technology rules our lives and it can be turned against us at any time. We then get a brief plot setup of how a cyber-terrorist threat must be combated by recruiting a black hat hacker Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) who’s in prison. He makes a deal to be released in exchange for hunting down the cyber terrorist. What’s surprising about this trailer is that even though it’s dealing with present-day issues, but has a very 90s feel. There’s something charming low-key about it, and even though it’s about a hacker, Hathaway does quite a bit of fighting. There’s remarkably little hacking, and I’ll be curious to see if it’s something that could be reasonably accurate or if it’s “movie hacking” which has pretty much no basis in reality beyond using a computer.
After the panel, Universal released a new image of Hemsworth and Mann and the title logo:
Click here for all our Comic-Con coverage.