While Wifelike, the new film by James Bird (Honeyglue), isn’t really a horror film per se, it is pretty terrifying. A smart sci-fi thriller about the future where men can buy an AI companion/wife, the film reminds me of what we are all already afraid of, that women will no longer have control over their own bodies. It is already happening. It’s already a truth that we’ve been fighting to stop. If something like Wifelike were to become reality—which I know that there are some companies really trying to make this happen—then what could happen to flesh and blood, breathing, living women? Would we start a revolt like the ones in the film, or would we be complacent and just let it happen? I hope I never find out.
To celebrate the release of the film, I chatted with star Jonathan Rhys Meyers about the film, what keeps him passionate, what’s up next, and more!
**This interview contains spoilers**
PopHorror: Hi Jonathan! Thank you so much for your time. I really enjoyed Wifelike. What was it about the film that intrigued you and made you want to be a part of the project?
Jonathan Rhys Meyers: He starts as human. She starts as an AI. By the end of the film, he has become an AI and she has become human. The story is about that transcendence. How one man can lose his humanity while one woman can gain her humanity. It’s the reversal of fortunes that I was really interested in. And they paid me, and I’m an actor, and I need to work as I have a wife and a son! I am a journeyman actor. It’s my job.
PopHorror: After reading the script, was there anything you were adamant about bringing to your character? What did you learn from your character?
Jonathan Rhys Meyers: I knew he was a character that I could play easily and bring several different layers to of being effortlessly cold and at same time. Vulnerable. He has the knowledge that what is happening is wrong, but he still engages in it anyway. Which is his tragedy, because as her humanity grows, his gets taken away as in the end. He becomes an AI.
PopHorror: This film deals with grief in an unconventional way. How did you prepare for your role?
Jonathan Rhys Meyers: I have had a full life and grief has been a part of it. Without grief, we will not learn. I am still teachable.
PopHorror: You have had a long and illustrious career and have continued to be successful. Velvet Goldmine is one of my favorites of yours. What has helped you stay passionate?
Jonathan Rhys Meyers: The love for my wife and son has helped me stay passionate. It has also taught me new passions. Fatherhood teaches daily. When I grow up, I want to be like my son.
PopHorror: What’s up next for you?
Jonathan Rhys Meyers: I’ve been offered a TV show, which I look forward to doing, as well as some films. Always working.
PopHorror: What’s your favorite scary movie?
Jonathan Rhys Meyers: 1984. It has one of my favorite actors, Richard Burton, in it and the beloved John Hurt. I was lucky enough to work with him on the last film he ever made, Damascus Cover. So, when I see him in 1984, I always shed a tear as he was such a great loss to the film industry and the world in general. 1984… We will leave it at that.
Thank you so much, Jonathan, for taking the time to speak with us. You can catch Wifelike in select theaters and digital August 12, 2022.