I was able to have a short chat with Stone in the hectic days before SXSW kicked off, and we discussed First Light, his latest film, and his growth as a filmmaker. I try to bring a story that’s relevant to the story rather than just stamp it with any aesthetic that is predetermined in my own head. I’m glad you mentioned the cast of The Calling. The characters themselves, of trying to like get through adolescence while also dealing with pretty difficult circumstances at home and in school-I’m not going to go into any specifics of the kids themselves, because that’s their story to tell-but I hung out with them a lot and they told me a lot about their own experiences and struggles and what they wanted to do with their lives and how they fought through that. As a storyteller, what advantages are there to using sci-fi to create these more intimate stories, like First Light? You can see it as a religious thing, or you can see it as a science fiction thing, but just having this kind of belief that there’s something else out there, I wanted to have that bounce back and forth between that tiny story between Sean and Alex just as kids, as teenagers, and also in the larger story of having first contact with humanity. Sean’s experience is sort of a one-on-one thing with Alex, but really the larger story is humanity is having this moment of realizing we’re not alone. That’s been explored in plenty of stories of alien encounters, but I wanted to play that optimistically and using the science fiction to expand the intimate story.

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