Riley Stearns is a filmmaker to watch, having helmed 2019’s fascinating Art of Self-Defense, a dark Jesse Eisenberg comedy that put toxic masculinity under the microscope. Now he’s coming back with a similarly wonky premise for a scifi feature, and he’s lined up an excellent cast to do it. Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Karen Gillan (Nebular in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies) will co-star in Dual.
The title is a play on words. The movie will follow a terminally ill woman (Gillan) who clones herself so that her friends and family will be have a version of her after she passes away. But the woman makes a remarkable recovery and instead the court system decides the only way to settle having two of the same person around is to have them fight to the death. A “duel” between “duals.”
That’s a pretty wacky plot but Stearns has an interesting way of selling absurdity with a straight face — often as a way of pointing out broader societal ills. Plus, Gillan has been an underrated delight in the Marvel movies and her well-loved Jumanji franchise, so it’ll be nice to see her get a chance to stretch her range a little. And Aaron Paul, of course, remains an intriguing talent who was superb in last year’s Breaking Bad spinoff El Camino.