I'm at a place in my life where I don't feel regret. Every choice you make is a piece of who you are. Even with the terrible things that happened in the past, that's a part of who I am now.

Not to be confused with the 2015 Syfy series of the same name, Dark Matter is the upcoming Apple TV+ adaptation of New York Times bestselling author Blake Crouch’s source material, which is widely heralded as one of the best sci-fi novels of the decade. The nine-episode series casts Joel Edgerton as Jason Dessen, a college physics professor who’s abducted by a masked stranger one night on his journey home. Coming to, Jason finds himself plonked into an alternate version of his life in which his research ambitions have been fully realized. But he’s no longer married to his wife Daniela (Jennifer Connelly), nor do they share a son together. Instead, a mysterious woman named Amanda (Alice Bragg) has taken their place in his home. The story draws on the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which posits that every decision we make creates a branching path, leading to an infinite number of parallel worlds with as many infinite versions of ourselves. As we discover, an alternate Jason from another timeline has cracked the code for multiversal travel and has stolen the life of “central Jason.” Now, the latter must find his way home to his family, through frozen tundras and a post-apocalyptic Chicago, and reclaim what’s rightfully his.

Dark Matter will premiere globally with the first two episodes on May 8 on Apple TV+.

Dark Matter is impressive and bingeworthy. Congratulations on this massive undertaking.

Joel Edgerton: Thank you!

Jennifer Connelly: Thank you so much.

Joel—upon learning that you were a fan of the source material and that you chased down this opportunity, your involvement felt incredibly pure to me. So what was it about this book?

Joel: Well, I think it resonated with me because I’m a science fiction fan. It’s not that I was trying to find a project to be in as an actor—it’s more that I’m a fan of good science fiction. I’m always curious about the concepts. And these concepts so often start well, but don’t end well. They’re so often really interesting launchpads for something, but they can go weird places. This was something different. It used the concept of parallel universes as a way to explore questions that I guess a lot of people ask, and they’re certainly questions I’ve asked myself through the years. The questions have to do with where I am now in relation to the choices I’ve made in the past, and where the choices I make today will lead me in the future. ‘Cause I’m terrible at making decisions, when I do make them, on the heels of it, I’m always wondering, “What if I had done that instead? What if I had changed my mind?” We all think about what our life would’ve been like had we done things differently or made different choices. But I’m also at a place in my life where I don’t feel regret. Every choice you make is a piece of who you are. Even with the terrible things that happened in the past, that’s a part of who I am now. And that’s a very good thing. So it resonated with me on a very universal, human way, even though it has a science fiction foundation.

Jennifer—how about you? What clinched it for you?

Jennifer: I just really liked the scripts. I thought the idea was great. I thought it was a really smart use of the multiverse idea—exploring it in a way where it hits so close to home. They’re going to different versions of their own lives, in their own city. That was really interesting and smart. I hadn’t seen that before. I liked having that at the center of it. There was also this ode to a marriage. It’s an exploration of the kind of challenges and obstacles that couples sometimes go through.

As a wife, a mother and an artistbecause Daniela is an artist and you explore the different permutations of that—there must be something undeniably cathartic about this.

Jennifer: It was certainly an interest. It was definitely interesting to think about how different choices might impact Daniela. It was a really fun thing to spend time thinking about her different paths: “Here’s a version of the same person, but she decided not to get married. She doesn’t have kids. She’s single and just doing her art. She’s not grieving over the loss of a child.” It’s all of those things. So, what does that look like? How does that manifest? It was a really fun challenge for me.

Without spoiling anything, the alternate Chicago with the pandemic scenario ruined me in the best way possible. It’s haunting and beautiful. You deserve all the nominations for that.

Jennifer: Thank you so much! Yeah, that scene was brutal… It was pretty sad…

Joel—I sometimes forget just how prolific you are on the other side of the camera, as a writer especially. You obviously direct and produce as well. Clearly, you don’t need a Joel2 or Joel3.

Joel: I always thought I became a writer because my brother [Nash] was bullying me into doing it. ‘Cause he wanted to make movies and he didn’t write! [laughs] And not so recently, years ago, I found all these things I was writing when I was in junior school. I’ve always been a writer. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I just like to do it. Now that I’m an actor, I’m trying to create opportunities for myself as well. Now there’s another compulsion because I want to make more movies. I have stories that I want to tell. I love sharing stories with people. With Dark Matter, I got involved at an early stage with Blake to turn the book into screenplays. For anyone who’s a fan of the book, there are things in the show that you won’t have read because there are expansions of different characters and ideas. It was so exciting to be involved in those conversations, you know?

Actors often like to say that it’s a dream whenever they get to play multiple roles on a project. Simply, they have much more to do. So this is as good as it gets. But is it also a nightmare?

Jennifer: [laughs] I think it was different for me than it was for Joel. Most other versions of Daniela that I played are single scenes. Some of them are really tableaus so I just had to mark them in a physical way. There’s only one other version of her that we spend any considerable amount of time with. So it was different for Joel. In one shooting day, he’d be going back and forth between multiple versions of his character, running in and out of makeup. It was a lot to keep track of.

Joel: There were a couple of moments of doing scenes with myself where I’d have a double to read opposite, which was extraordinary. These were great guys that helped me out. I was having to tell ‘em about the rhythm I would be playing the scenes so that I could also react in the right moments playing both sides. And the biggest challenge that I hadn’t thought about was having to do a fight scene with myself. On the one hand, the stunt guys are all amazing. They’re all physically amazing specimens. They know how to fight. But we needed to create Jason’s way of fighting that would be believable. I mean, he’s just a regular guy. He doesn’t go to Jujutsu classes or do TaeKwonDo. He’s just a middle-aged man, fighting. [laughs] So doing both sides of the fighting became a real challenge. Look—part of the reason I got really involved is that I think every job you do should be challenging in some way. It should teach you something new. So it was great. There were challenges. It was hard work. It was frustrating at times. But ultimately, you work it out. It all becomes something at the end of the day. It’s now something you’ve somewhat learned how to do.

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