Reporting by Sharon Hong
In films like "Hustle & Flow," "8 Mile" and "Crossroads," Taryn Manning always seems to play morally-tenuous women finding drama through sex and drugs. For her recently-wrapped flick, Your Name Here," however, she traded tears for tech.
"It's being submitted to Sundance," she said excitedly when she stopped by MTV's Los Angeles studio last week. "It's a movie that me and Bill Pullman did, and I play Victoria Principal."
Portraying the sexpot "Dallas" star, Manning plays opposite Pullman as a doppleganger version of eccentric sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, whose novels about time travel, androids and alternate universes have yielded such classics as "Minority Report," "Total Recall," and "Blade Runner."
"Pullman plays William J. Frick, but it's based on Phillip K. Dick," she grinned, explaining that legal mumbo-jumbo kept the production from using real names (see "Bill Pullman Is Kind Of, But Not Really, Philip K. Dick"). "It is all kind of weird and bizarre - and I am a robot in it."
Much like David Cronenberg's "Naked Lunch," the film mixes fiction and reality into a drug-addled concoction that'll leave audience members questioning reality in a way that would make Dick proud. "Instead of being Vikki, I'm Nikki ... It's all based on [his life], but it's all imaginative. Plus, he's on meth - so, it's all a bit skewed."
When Manning appears to Dick...er...Frick in what seems to be a dream, his sci-fi world invades his reality. "He's infatuated with my character ... she starred in that movie 'Earthquake,' and he is obsessed with her even though he has a wife," she said of one scene. "All around his office you see pictures of me. One day, he does a huge line [of cocaine], and the next thing you know he's in the back of a limo, and there I am!"
In case you haven't figured it out yet, "Nikki" the android is an homage to the plight of Harrison Ford's Deckard. "[Pullman's character] can't tell if it's a dream or I'm really there, and the next thing you know I'm taking him into my world," she revealed. "[He thinks] we're going to live happily ever after."
Following its possible Sundance '08 debut, "Your Name Here" hopes to trip into theaters sometime next year. "It's deep; the writer is great, and it's kooky," Manning smiled. "I think it'll be another cool cult movie."