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'Walking Dead' star Steven Yeun plays scientist in 'I Origins'

UPI News Service, 07/17/2014 

Steven Yeun says he was drawn to the big-screen drama I Origins because he loves science and was dying to work with writer-director Mike Cahill.

In the film, Yeun plays Kenny, a brilliant computer programmer who works for a company that has amassed a database of iris biometric profiles. He helps his best friend Ian, a molecular biologist studying the evolution of the eye, figure out why some living subjects' irises -- long believed to be completely unique -- appear to be duplicates of dead people's eyes. The discovery leads Kenny and Ian to question not only the results of their work, but also their core beliefs regarding science and faith.

"I love science. I read about it every day on Reddit," Yeun told UPI during a recent round-table interview with reporters in New York.

"It's just amazing to see the progress we're making every single day. I just love that cross-section of when are we going to fly too high? We really might. I love that idea that we might fly too high; that we might expose something that we're not ever supposed to know. Coming from a very faith-based background, just knowing that your faith relies on the fact that you are not supposed to know. It's not on you to know. And for you to think otherwise is foolish. I just love those two worlds meeting. It was fun."

Yeun went on to say he never felt overwhelmed by the scientific aspects of the film because Cahill had created characters who seemed real and set them in a recognizable world.

"I knew I wanted to work with Mike and Michael and Brit [Marling]," said Yeun, who is the best known for his work on TV's The Walking Dead. "I wasn't afraid of the script in terms of the science-fiction angle because I knew that they would ground it."

"Watching [Cahill and Marling's first collaboration] Another Earth, you see something that is so extraordinary, so science-fiction and then they make it so real that you're like, 'Yeah, she went into a spaceship, into a shuttle to go to the other Earth.' It was completely believable. I didn't skip a beat. .... That's what I really enjoy and that's what I love about this aesthetic. Everything is to ground. Everything is as hyper-real as we can possibly get it in such a fantastical situation. And that's, I think, the essence of this film, too. You walk out like, 'Is this real?' And then you say, 'Could this happen tomorrow?' And if you didn't have the aesthetic that Mike Cahill has, this film wouldn't have worked."

Co-starring Astrid Berges-Frisbey, I Origins is scheduled to open in select theaters Friday.

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