Joel Edgerton: 'Dark Matter' questions who we are, how we got here

Joel Edgerton stars in Apple TV+ series, "Dark Matter." File Photo by Rune Hellestad/ UPI
1 of 5 | Joel Edgerton stars in Apple TV+ series, "Dark Matter." File Photo by Rune Hellestad/ UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, June 26 (UPI) -- Joel Edgerton says he wanted to star in the sci-fi drama, Dark Matter, because it explores existential questions he often ponders in reality.

"How does where I'm at relate to all of the choices that I've made, particularly the big ones? And how I may not be sitting here if certain things in my life had gone a different way," Edgerton, 50, told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.


"We all ruminate on those themes and this show just felt so full of those sort of deep human things. I thought it was just a fantastic story to tell," he said. "I got very excited about being involved in it."

Wrapping up Wednesday on Apple TV+, the nine-episode adaptation of Blake Crouch's novel is set in contemporary Chicago and follows Jason Dessen (Edgerton), a physicist, professor and family man who is abducted into an alternate version of his life and fights desperately to get back to what he thinks is his own reality.


Crouch serves as executive producer and showrunner.

Edgerton -- who is known best for his performances in Obi-Wan Kenobi, Loving, Midnight Special and Boy Erased -- plays two versions of the same character in Dark Matter.

Jennifer Connelly plays Jason 1's artist wife, Daniela, while Alice Braga plays Amanda, Jason 2's fellow scientist and girlfriend, who tries to help him find his way back to his original dimension.

"I have never seen her before in my life," Edgerton laughed about Jason 1's initial introduction to Amanda.

"Not only does she seem to know me, but inferring that her and I are intimately involved in a relationship becomes part of the reason why I start to think I'm losing my mind," he added.

"Why is she living in my house and why is my house different? Then we start this journey together where she tries to help me get home and, through that experience, we start to really see each other and we start to understand and empathize with each other and start to develop a complicated relationship."

Queen of the South and I Am Legend actress Braga, 41, said Amanda's life is turned upside-down by Jason's predicament.


"Amanda starts the show at a very specific moment of her life, through being part of this experiment that has gone in a bad way," Braga said.

"She wants to help someone who is clearly lost and is lost because of something she's a part of, that she helped create," she added.

"That brings a huge life transformation for her. I think life is all about that, who you meet down the road always can inspire you or change you for the good, for the bad. ... She is a strong woman, but who is broken, and who is trying to figure out who she is in the world. This journey changes her because of meeting him and going through this experience."

The stars said they enjoyed the series' heady concepts and scientific jargon, but didn't come away from the project with a passion for physics they plan to pursue further.

"My first meeting with Blake was really interesting. I had so many questions and it was like: 'Yep, i'm an actress. i'm asking a nerd,'" she recalled. "I was always terrible at physics in school."

Edgerton said he is curious about physics, science and the universe.

"The problem is my brain is not elastic enough to really receive some of my curious concepts and, the questions I have, the answers are very hard to understand," he added.


"So, I have the curiosity, but I don't know if I have an aptitude to, really, really understand the complexities of the information."

Braga chimed in, "It was actually fun, right? to make some scenes sound very scientific."

Edgerton said he has spoken to friends who work on medical dramas and have similar experiences trying to memorize complicated terms for maladies and treatments.

"That's the trick sometimes, right?" Edgerton said. "You have no idea what you're talking about, but you make [people] believe it."

The actor said he thinks Dark Matter will resonate with 2024 audiences because there is so much uncertainty in the world right now.

"All of us have a pinch of cynicism about us and a pinch of optimism in there somewhere in equal measure," he said.

"We always think we're one step away from cataclysm, and we look into our past and we wonder about all the steps that we made that led us to chaos or joy and wonder and excellence," he added. "We wonder, also, whether they are predestined or we could have actively changed our fates in some way. This is how we wrestle with the world and our small, insignificant part of this wondrous universe and world we live in."


Edgerton thinks people can control their futures -- to a certain extent -- using their free will to decide which paths to take and avoid.

"I believe that the things that I say, how I conduct myself in the world, that I choose kindness and that I keep evolving as person, that can take me good places and, if it doesn't, I'll deal with that," he said. "But I don't have regrets."

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