It’s not easy to sell the world on otherworldly family feuds, but the hugely successful fantasy CD-ROMs Myst and Riven have made a nice bundle of bucks for their chief creators, Rand and Robyn Miller. Still, when Robyn, 31, announced on March 5 that he was leaving their Spokane, Wash.-based company, Cyan, to create a film-development company called Land of Point, it echoed Myst’s brotherly rivalry. Not so, insists Robyn to EW’s Ty Burr. Merely time for him to get back to storytelling basics.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why now?
ROBYN MILLER: I grew a little frustrated, while we were creating Riven, with the inability to get a story into this nonlinear medium. It’s very difficult to orchestrate a narrative when the player can turn around and walk out of a room at any moment. Your climax is ruined.
EW: Can you tell me anything about your first two film projects?
RM: One of them will be mostly computer generated. And the other one will be live action with computer-generated aspects, because the world is going to be fantastic in nature and we’ll have to resort to virtual sets.
EW: Are you toying with the idea of synthespians, or virtual actors?
RM: Only when the [characters] aren’t human. People do it much better.
EW: You and Rand have both been notably Tinseltown-shy. Presumably you’ll have to deal with Hollywood if you want to get some level of star involved with your films.
RM: That’s true, but a certain type of project can be hurt by a star. If we’re creating completely different universes, the last thing that you’d want to hear would be Harrison Ford’s voice. It worked in Star Wars because nobody knew who he was at that point.
EW: Is Rand going to have any input in Land of Point?
RM: As far as the films themselves, I’ve not had conversations with Rand.
EW: Is there a way you and he might end up making the Myst or Riven movie that you didn’t want Hollywood to do?
RM: I won’t ever end up being involved in that. I worked on Myst and Riven for years — I feel like I was drowning in those worlds. I think about other projects. I think about other places.
EW: Can you talk about some touchstones for stories you want to tell?
RM: Star Wars is one of the stories that have had a great influence, mostly in terms of the world that was created and the mythic nature of that story. There are [also] stories with more of a personal conflict, [where] I see someone really transformed and recognizing their faults. Believe me, I don’t want to make this movie, but last year I read The Brothers Karamazov, and I was very touched by that.
EW: Well, in that case, why not write books?
RM: Writing books is completely viable. But it’s the power of movies that [puts] all of those elements together — the visual, the sound — [and that] really makes people tender. It completely brings them to another place.
EW: Have you thought about what you’ll say when you win an Oscar?
RM: [Laughs] That’s not a healthy thought for me to think about.