Kodi Smit-McPhee is passionate about science fiction and couldn't pass up an opportunity to be in Seth Larney's passion project 2067. The actor stars as Ethan Whyte, a survivor in a dystopian future where humanity has been ravaged by climate change with the near extinction of plant life. His father, among other scientists, stumbled upon a way into the future. When a cryptic message arrives that says, "Send Ethan Whyte" from the other side, the miner reluctantly agrees to go on a mission to save his species. I spoke to Smit-McPhee, who played the character, about a variety of subjects: what attracted him to the film, how he compares working on an indie sci-fi film compared to a tentpole franchise like the X-Men, and how smaller studios compete with larger ones during the pandemic.
The major thing that attracted Smit-McPhee to the project is the film's message on climate change. "On the surface, I always wanted to be part of sci-fi, but this one holds a cautionary message that I think a lot can relate to," he said. "I think about how we treat nature and the earth. It's not something you come across all the time. I immediately wanted to be a part of this. I got the job and met Ryan Kwanten. It really felt like family." Kwanten plays his brother Jude, who worked in the tunnels with him and finds his way to Ethan in the future. "I would say they have an extremely close bond," Smit-McPhee continued. "They work with each other in the tunnels, which is kind of a rigorous dirty job. We come to see that Jude is a brotherly, almost fatherly figure. He continues to be by my side. He's the only other person aside from my wife in the film. Jude's the only one Ethan trusts."
When it comes to working on 2067, Smit-McPhee felt more organic and more soulful experience as an indie film than his time in the X-Men franchise for 20th Century Fox. "Independent movies always have a different vibe to them to a franchise," he said. "Of course, the franchise has its perks. Franchises help get your name out there. It's a lot more like a machine. You don't necessarily have a lot of say as far as things creatively. You're more of a moving piece. That's not to disregard it. X-Men is an amazing thing to be a part of. I loved working on that, but there's quite a lot more soul in independent movies because they take a lot more time and effort. You are working with a smaller cast and crew. It takes a lot more commitment and cooperation. To have that cooperation and patience, you have to have a lot of passion for what you're working on. I feel like it filters out, and you don't want to be doing it for the wrong reasons. It feels like a family at the end of the day and what you're working on feels organic. You're trying to convey the message to the audience who are passionate about it. There are little differences there with sets and makeup. It's not better or worse; it's definitely different."
Smit-McPhee admits indie films have a more level playing field, given the current pandemic to compete with the major studios. "Before any franchise or big blockbuster, they kind of have a stranglehold on [the market] with the ads we see on the street," he said. "Now that we're all cooped up inside, a lot more is directed toward the computer. I feel like we'll have a lot more revenue in the market for independents and smaller things. Not only that, but I think people are willing to do things they haven't done before when it comes to movies, streaming, and stuff. I know personally, I'm watching a lot more movies myself." The actor compares his experience of making 2067 to what he saw in The Matrix (1999) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The film also stars Sana'a Shaik, Deborah Mailman, and Aaron Glenane. 2067 is currently in theatres.