Looking like his character Jesus from ‘The Walking Dead,’ you would hardly recognize Tom Payne if you just went by the appearance of his character in the soon to be released ‘Mindgamers.’ In the film, Payne plays Jaxon, a character filled with the passion for learning combined with an exceptional academic prowess who is ruthlessly ambitious. He is one of 6 students at a quantum academy who attempts to create a collective consciousness only to discover that they themselves are part of a greater experiment.
To prepare for the role, Payne threw himself into the world of quantum theory and mind connective technology and at a private ‘Mindbenders’ event at Red Bull HQ, the actor spoke about his time filming this unique and somewhat complex film.
“There was a lot of concepts and things that happen to [the character] that were kind of tough to wrap my head around,’ said Payne. “That’s the one thing about being an actor. You get to play these scientists and doctors without having to actually do the science so you do the best that you can. But also, being involved in the movie you have to realize that what happens is based on and is related to current advances science and technology so that was fascinating to me. “
What makes ‘Mindgamers’ so unique is that along with its limited release on March 28, audience members at both the Los Angeles and New York screenings will be part of a massive experiment where EEG reading will be taken from participating audience members to create and explore in real-time the brain activity of people as they watch the film. The data will be broadcast in real time to other screening locations across the nation.
“I just signed on to do a movie and then it’s ending up to be this whole science experiment which is really amazing, really exciting!” Payne says with a big grin on his face. “I’ve seen the movie twice now and the second time I was in a different place with it. The first time, I walked away wondering “Is this a really good film?” I didn’t know how to take it because it is not linear like any other film I’ve been in or read or watched is. And then in the context of what we are doing with it now with the event and everything, it really is a workout for the mind. You walk away thinking about it and trying to piece it together.”
As for his character, Payne describes Jaxon as:
“… a very ambitious and intelligent scientist who doesn’t let much stop him from getting the answers that he wants…. My character isn’t sad or isn’t affected by [another character’s harsh action] in any other way than “Damn it! Maybe she knows more than I do.” Which was really interesting for me… The character is someone who will go really far to be right and to get to the next stage but not as far as other people.”
Of course, Payne was asked about how his character in ‘Mindgamers’ differs from his role in ‘The Walking Dead’ (besides having a lot less hair):
“They’re both quite different. Jesus thinks more of other people. He has more empathy than Jaxon does. I think Jaxxon really doesn’t care. His ambition is so strong, he’ll override anyone or anything to find the answer. Where Jesus is a bit more, wanting everyone to get along and is always trying to find the best thing for everyone and not just for himself. “
Fans of Payne can see what he means when this special event of ‘Mindbenders premieres in theaters on March 28. Tickets are still available and can be purchased on Fathom events.
Janice Kay is the Senior Editor of ScienceFiction.com. When not working, you can most likely find her drinking copious amount of mochas while in front of a TV binge watching on sci-fi shows. You can follow her on Twitter.