The first trailer The Circle finds Emma Watson’s Mae Holland shooting to social media stardom — and then finding the dark side of that spotlight.
Based on Dave Eggers’s popular 2013 sci-fi novel of the same name, The Circle follows the story of a Silicon Valley social media giant called The Circle — really a stand-in for Facebook — run by the enigmatic Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks). The film questions the meaning of privacy in the social media age, and how much respect are corporate-run platforms meant to have for that privacy?
The Circle director James Ponsoldt told USA Today: “[Mae’]s struggling, living with her parents, looking for meaning and frustrated. She lands her dream job. Then things start to get weird.”
The plot begins when Bailey introduces SeeChange cameras, little glass eyeballs that transit live footage wirelessly, a Google Glass-like device (remember, this was written in 2013). Mae’s just landed a job at the Circle, but she soon becomes internationally famous after sharing her every day life with the help of SeeChanges.
“She becomes a pseudo-celebrity with her superpower, that she’s natural, relatable and willing to speak freely about everything in her life,” Ponsoldt says. “But it gets to the point where it’s almost a religion and then a glass prison of celebrity.”
As for Hanks’s Silicon Valley mogul, Bailey, Ponsoldt says that the character thinks “knowing is good, and knowing everything is better. He believes all experiences should be available to everyone, not only the privileged or people who can afford to them. He’s deeply interested in technology that can make people share all human experiences with everyone. He’s a boundary pusher, even boundary destroyer.”
The third big name in The Circle’s cast is John Boyega, who plays a Circle programmer and the creator of the SeeChange who’s become distinctly disillusioned with the Circle’s rhetoric. The trailer makes his character appear as a watchdog of sorts, with Boyega warning Watson’s Mae of things to come.
The Circle is expected in theaters at some point in 2017.