As more and more people start exploring online worlds with virtual reality devices, the industry is coming up with new ways of keeping people entertained. Up next—the first-ever feature-length VR film.
Hugo Weaving, known for playing the antagonist Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy, will star in the movie Lone Wolf alongside Tilda Cobham-Hervey. Jonathan Ogilvie will direct the Australian film, which is a modern-day adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s 1907 novel, The Secret Agent, reported Variety.
The film will centre on a group of anarchists, including one who is a police informant, who is tasked with attacking the Sydney Opera House. Weaving will play a police minister, and Cobham-Hervey will be one of the anarchists. Production will begin once the $2 million budget is secured. It’s set for release in 2019.
“This is an incredibly timely story. A film shot entirely as surveillance in objective and POV mode — the character of Stevie incessantly films everything on his phone — plays on our conflicted collective concerns regarding surveillance, i.e. the loss of personal privacy vs. the sense of security in having someone watch over us,” Ogilvie told Variety.
The film will be released in both VR and 2D versions. Special lenses will allow for the creation of a VR effect that will enable people who use smartphone-mounted headsets to access a 3D 200-degree viewing environment.
Both versions of the film may be shown at festivals and Australian cinema events. Ogilvie would also like to show Lone Wolf at pop-up events. Online VR distribution is being considered for Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and mainland China.
A 2017 survey by GlobalWebIndex found that only 4 percent of internet users worldwide owned a VR headset. The percentage will likely increase by 2019 when the VR film is released. Virtual reality can be used for numerous purposes in addition to entertainment. Other uses include easing anxiety during dental appointments, training employees, treating post-traumatic stress disorder, and helping children with autism develop social skills.