Paramount has delayed the release of Mark Wahlberg‘s sci-fi movie Infinite, moving it from August 7 to May 28, 2021. The move gives director Antoine Fuqua more time in the editing room, and gives Infinite a high-profile release date over Memorial Day weekend — which could be especially crowded next year. Infinite will now open against Disney’s Cruella starring Emma Stone.
Wahlberg stars as a troubled man who discovers that his hallucinations are actually visions from past lives. Suicidal and self-medicating, he is rescued by a group called “infinites” who unlock the memories of his past lives in the hopes he can thwart an infinite who has a terrible plan for humanity.
Chiwetel Ejiofor co-stars alongside Dylan O’Brien, Rupert Friend, Jason Mantzoukas, Sophie Cookson and Toby Jones, while Fuqua directs from a script by John Lee Hancock and Ian Shorr, based on the novel The Reincarnationist Papers by D. Eric Maikranz.
Infinite was reportedly filmed all over the world, including London, New York City, Scotland, Thailand, Mexico City, Nepal, Wales and the Alps, and production wrapped on Christmas Eve. Paramount had hoped to make a splash with early footage at SXSW and CinemaCon, but those plans were canceled when the plug was pulled on both events.
Fuqua and the film’s lead producer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, spoke with Deadline about the film’s editing process, which is now being done remotely due to the current pandemic that has forced Hollywood’s top creatives to work in isolation. They said they’re still working as if the film is coming out this August, as a mutual sense of urgency only serves to benefit the picture.
“For us, a little extra time is a good thing, if you manage it correctly,” di Bonaventura told Deadline. “Antoine and I made a commitment to stay on each other and act like we are keeping that same date, to keep up the passion and the intensity. If you don’t manage it correctly, what can happen is you start cutting for cutting’s sake, and you can take the life out of something, without even realizing you have done that. It’s a real discipline, to not over-utilize the extra time we have.”
Fuqua agreed with that reasoning. “We have to act like we’re still making the movie for that date even though we’re not. We have to motivate each other to stay in the zone. I get very excited when I see things coming together, the big visual effects. I haven’t had that opportunity to do a film with this kind of money and ambition. It’s exciting to be working with Lorenzo again, and he’s the guy who [oversaw] The Matrix, and that’s sort of the bar, to be as creative and commercially successful as that was. I try to stay in that zone, which helps because of the nature of the film. But it’s tough to stay in that world, said Fuqua. “We haven’t taken our foot off the gas; me and Lorenzo committed to stay on top of each other. We’re that way anyway. We are acting like we are keeping that same date, as much as we can.”
Di Bonaventura said he’d prefer to be in the editing room with Fuqua and editor Conrad Buff IV, because “you can feel the other person’s experience” when you watch a cut coming together, and it’s hard to replicate that environment with phone calls and Zoom chats.
“It can be tedious and frustrating,” said Fuqua, because “Lorenzo’s there, I’m here and Conrad’s at his place. We all watch it separately and then try to collectively come together on the feeling and experience of it. You have to be so zeroed in being home, because if we give Conrad our notes, it takes almost a day or two before we can get back into that particular scene. Normally, it’s immediate; we walk out of the room, Conrad does his work, and me and Lorenzo come back in and we experience it immediately and have a reaction to it. Now, it takes days. And god forbid there’s an internet connection issue to the system. Everything freezes, you have to wait and when we jump back on the call, it’s the next day and the urgency and the feeling and the excitement in the immediacy of the moment, sometimes gets lost. And we have to get ourselves ramped back up again while dealing with this real life we’re all dealing with. Kids, and online school, all the other stuff. You’ve got to zero in again, reconnect with each other, to be honest about what we’re witnessing and feeling.”
Fuqua and di Bonaventura first worked together on Training Day, so they have a long history together that should benefit them during this trying time for the film industry. With Infinite, the producer promised a timely tentpole that has more on its mind than shootouts and explosions.
“This movie has real depth, and it asks questions, and it’s kind of a mind-fu*k in the best possible way. It really makes you think,” said di Bonaventura. “This movie is probably different than others, in that its ambition is such that it is timely in this moment, asking the kinds of questions that we are all asking ourselves sitting at home.”
Right now, Fuqua and di Bonaventura are going through the film one reel at a time, as they’re reluctant to have the entire movie stored on any one system due to security concerns, particularly with the FBI warning of “zoom bombing.”
“As soon as we can get into a room together and not get fined or hauled off or show a bad example for everybody, that’s the first thing we’re going to do, is watch it all in continuity,” said di Bonaventura, who seemed relieved to have finished principal photography before the pandemic shut down all of Hollywood.
One project that was forced to shut down was Wahlberg’s Sony movie Uncharted, and it’s unclear whether the studio will resume production once current restrictions are lifted, or whether Sony will rush Spider-Man 3 into production, since star Tom Holland can’t shoot two movies at once. The tentative July start date for Spider-Man 3 is also playing a factor with regards to the second season of Zendaya‘s HBO series Euphoria.