Brie Larson Talks 'Messy Truth VR' At Infinity Festival

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Brie Larson Talks 'Messy Truth VR' At Infinity Festival
January 2, 2021
IMAGE: DAVID SWANSON / EPA-EFE / SHUTTERSTOCK

 

Have you ever wanted to see what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes? Well, now you can through The Messy Truth VR experience, directed by Elijah Allan-Blitz and co-produced by Van Jones and Brie Larson. Allan-Blitz and Larson sat down to discuss the project virtually at Infinity Festival, a multi-day event that explores the intersection between content creation and technology, with chief curator Lori H. Schwartz on Dec. 16.

 

The Messy Truth is a four-episode collection of virtual reality shorts that allow viewers to step into other people's realities by putting on a headset and experiencing 360-degree video.

 

Two episodes have been released so far. The first of these, starring Winston Duke (best known for playing M'Baku in Black Panther), exposes racism and injustice by giving the viewer the perspective of a 12-year-old Black boy who is in the car with his father when he is pulled over and harassed by the police. The second episode, which features Larson and won her a 2020 Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Interactive Program, has the viewer facing sexual harassment and gender inequality after they assume the position of a server at a restaurant.

 

“One of the most important things is that every episode we’re doing is based on a true story," said Allan-Blitz during the live stream.

 

To accomplish this, he contacted the people who had experienced situations similar to those depicted in The Messy Truth episodes firsthand. For Larson's episode, they turned to Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and Women in Hospitality United. 

 

“We had a lot of really smart, powerful, wonderful women who came directly from this field and then became activists and advocates for people within the restaurant industry to help advise us on these scripts to make sure that everything from set, setting, language was all representative of what’s happening currently," said Larson.

 

She further explained that her goal with moviemaking had always been to help audiences empathize with the characters they encountered. Through VR, she could go one step further by allowing viewers to not just sympathize with a person on screen but be that person for a short moment in time.

 

As for the future, Larson and Allan-Blitz are excited to continue their series and bring it to even more people as VR headsets become increasingly affordable. Larson explained that there were so many more stories to tell — focused on topics from mental health to addiction — that she hoped they could bring to viewers.

 

"These are true things that also exist within our experience," said Larson, "And in particular, at a time when we're so isolated and so physically separate from one another, the idea that we could create more experiences of unity utilizing this alone time feels very right."

 

Though they're still working to find funding and partners for future episodes, Larson and Allan-Blitz are developing ones with fellow Marvel Cinematic Universe actors Josh Brolin, known for portraying Thanos, and Zoe Saldana, known for playing Gamora.

 

You won't be able to get the full experience without a headset, but you can watch the short Larson acts in here.

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