In a role that may hit too close to home, Chris Hemsworth plays a visionary tech mogul conducting some ethically dubious experiments in the trailer for Netflix’s “darkly funny psychological thriller” Spiderhead.
Based on the New Yorker short story “Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders (peep the inmate reading Saunders’ short story collection Tenth of December in the trailer), the film follows Jeff (Miles Teller), an inmate at a state-of-the-art penitentiary.
According to Spiderhead’s synopsis, the inmates in this remote facility have unprecedented freedoms–up to a certain point. In exchange, they volunteer to wear a surgically attached device that administers mind-altering substances under the observation of Steve Abnesti (Hemsworth).
Jeff’s limited freedoms are further compromised when he begins to bond with another inmate (Jurnee Smollet), and Abnesti’s trials “start to push the limits of free will altogether.” As Hemsworth glibly states in the trailer: “The time to worry about crossing lines was a lot of lines ago.”
It’s always good to see Hemsworth switch gears from rugged action hero into morally questionable charismatic leader mode (see also: his hypnotizing cult leader in Bad Times At The El Royale). The actor is also listed as a producer on the project, alongside writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool, Zombieland) as well as Eric Newman, Geneva Wasserman, Oren Katzeff, and Tommy Harper. The film is directed by Joseph Kosinski (Top Gun: Maverick). The ensemble cast also includes Mark Paguio, Tess Haubrich, Angie Milliken, and Stephen Tongun.
Kosnicki teased the “really entertaining” dynamic between Hemsworth and Teller in an interview for Entertainment Weekly, saying that the prisoner “sort of forms a friendship with” his mysterious jailor. “I wanted to portray that sense of trust in the beginning to help show that there’s a real earnestness and sincerity on Abnesti’s part toward helping everybody,” he explained.
Spiderhead streams on Netflix June 17.