Leigh Whannell has enjoyed enormous success in the horror genre, writing the scripts for the original Saw and Insidious movies as well as writing and directing 2015’s supernatural sequel Insidious: Chapter 3. But for his second movie as director, the Australian has stepped away from the genre to make the science fiction-action movie Upgrade (out June 1).
“I do think there is an exhaustion that comes with repeating the same tricks over and over, at least for me,” Whannell tells EW. “Some directors tend to excel in just one genre. You know, John Ford made plenty of westerns and he made some great films! It wasn’t something he shied away from. But for me, personally, horror is quite mechanical, and there is kind of a burnout factor that happens if you’re working too much in horror, or at least for me there is. I love playing this other note and exploring a whole other genre.”
In the near-future-set Upgrade, Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) plays Grey Trace, a paraplegic given the ability to walk — and fight — thanks to an experimental computer-chip implant. No. 1 on Trace’s to-do list? Find the thugs who killed his wife and left him for dead. The film required Marshall-Green not only to trade blows on screen, but to do so in a suitably robotic manner. “He was a godsend,” says Whannell. “He worked with a dance-and-movement instructor and the stunt team. People ask, ‘What sort of tricks did you use to make him seem so robotic?’ And I say, ‘That’s just Logan.’”
Watch the trailer for Upgrade above and see an exclusive image featuring Marshall-Green and costar Betty Gabriel, below.