The Tomorrow Man
by writer/director Noble Jones
It began in the dark. A flicker of light on the thick red curtain before it was open completely. Like it couldn’t wait. Or maybe it was me that couldn’t wait. Odd and surreal. Magic. I chewed popcorn; my sneakers firmly stuck to the floor. I wasn’t the only one, but it wasn’t a packed house either. This was a theater somewhere in Queens during the seventies. I was young and lucky. Other than the ‘40s, it was the finest decade for movies. Yes, there are those that would disagree with that notion but then that’s what makes the movies special. Disagreement over what’s good, right, true. It’s the stuff of life and I wanted in.
Movies are a miracle of coordination. The idea of having the world stop and line up in an aesthetically pleasing way for an inch-wide diagonal area focused in space is really an extraordinary feat. I’ve always been in awe of the machine Hollywood has created and perfected over the years. It may often seem out of control but it’s as controlled as it could be under the circumstances. The director alone can wreak havoc on well laid plans that he himself has made. This is due to the revelatory process of making films and in saying this I am speaking for myself though again, I am not alone.
It’s a lot like a séance, where the characters appear and begin talking about what they think and more importantly what they want, though that second little detail is often hard to discern, just like people in “real” life.
Ed and Ronnie’s specificity is something that came when all was quiet, allowing them to be their loudest and most defined selves. This was when they told me what they wanted and I tried to shape it towards a theme, in this case love being the ultimate survival gear.
My characters in The Tomorrow Man are the spiritual descendants of characters from a John Ford movie and the world I tried to create is from that tradition. It’s the world of a resilient and self-sufficient American that has traversed and tamed the awesome terrain of a place I could only know from what I saw, well, in a movie, of course. But having had the pleasure of finally seeing those vast spaces with my own eyes, I have grown even more in awe of them.
Though I never intended to be silent on modern politics I wanted to somehow get beyond them and speak to timeless ideas of how people deal with change. The Tomorrow Man is about that process at its most awkward and loving, with all its fits and starts and a little bit of truth thrown in for good measure.