CANNES, FRANCE --
What do you do after creating the first love story about a computer operating system?
If you’re writer/director Spike Jonze, maybe your next mind-bending narrative will take place in a virtual world. No — not the James Cameron virtuosity of an avatar, but the kind of deeply immersive VR any user can experience via bleeding-edge technology like Oculus Rift.
Speaking during an interview with Sapient creative chief Gaston Legorburu at the Lions festival here, Jonze shared how he recently experienced Oculus Rift and was quite impressed with the experience, including the possibility of creating a cinematic narrative around it.
Legorburu concurred, adding that he had a personal “fascination” with the “ideal of interactive storytelling” via technologies like Oculus Rift. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but I can imagine — it’s so compelling. The emotional experience for a consumer ... it’s another way to connect with a consumer.”
Watching the gears turn around in Jonze’s head made me think of a version of the movie “Her,” in which you actually interacted with her. Or perhaps a version of “Being John Malkovich” in which you actually got to be John Malkovich.
Overall, Jonze implied that he is not enamored by new technology just for the sake of its newness; he is more interested in how it can be used to tell a story. On that note, he was not so sanguine when it came to the subject of social media. When Sapient’s Legorburu asked if the rise of social was impacting how he tells stories and makes movies, Jonze was more or less meh.
“I don’t know how it has,” Jonze said about the impact of social media. He said he and his production crews have done things like use a “cultural blog” to help curate ideas around the production and to provide a “feedback loop of people’s ideas.”
But he described it as “just another tool… a medium to exchange ideas with the audience. I can’t say there’s anything revolutionary with that medium.”