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FROM BOOK TO FILM

‘Paranoia’ exposes underbelly of corporate world

/ 03:42 AM September 30, 2013

LIAM Hemsworth

The corporate world may not be as glamorous as it seems. In fact, it may be deadly ground.

Adapted from the acclaimed novel by Joseph Finder of the same name, “Paranoia” explores the dirty playground of powerful corporations and the sleazy tactics of its players.

Directed by Australian Robert Luketic, the film tells the story of Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth), an entry-level employee in a large and powerful corporation who makes a deal with the CEO (Gary Oldman) to spy on his rival and former mentor (Harrison Ford) to secure for themselves a multi-billion-dollar deal.

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In the film, the two most powerful tech billionaires in the world are bitter rivals with a complicated past who will stop at nothing to destroy each other. Seduced by unlimited wealth and the promise of power, Adam becomes trapped in the middle of the twists and turns of a life-and-death game of corporate espionage.

It is only after a while that Adam realizes he has found himself in a rabbit hole and  there is no going back.

The New York Times best-selling techno-thriller  has all these questions to deal with: Has corporate power grown out of control? Where is the line between mining digital data and dangerous, invasive surveillance? What happens when CEOs operate outside the law?

GARY Oldman, Liam Hemsworth and Harrison Ford star in Relativity Media’s “Paranoia.”

While researching for the novel, Finder encountered a world where multinational companies now have more riches and wield more political influence than entire nations.

“I started thinking what would happen if a corporation needed a piece of transformational technology that they knew their competitor had,” Finder said. “How far would they go to get it? That’s how I came up with Adam Cassidy.

“In some ways, he’s the classic guy who is forced into being a spy. But his story also takes on the whole idea of identity, about people forming relationships that are based on falsehoods and impersonation, about conscience and about doing the right things—all of which is happening underneath the fun and suspense.”

Producer Alexandra Milchan read the book and was inspired to bring the story hurtling into the even starker realities of the 2013 corporate world, where a savvy, wired youth culture at the bottom rung is confronting a changing digital reality and tough economic times.

Luketic, who directed “Legally Blonde” and “21,” was especially intrigued by the challenge of mirroring the title and evoking the sense of paranoia of modern life, where almost everywhere cameras surround us and privacy is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

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“Adam is in the world where we all live now—a world that is all about data mining, and where everyone leaves all kinds of trails they don’t even realize they are leaving,” Luketic said. “Never before in history have we had so much of ourselves so accessible to the world. That was a lot of the inspiration for what we present on the screen. Ultimately, nowhere is safe for Adam because there is nowhere he can hide out of view. He is being surveyed from cameras hidden in walls and people are tracking him through his phone. It goes to the question of whether there’s a danger to having all this information about ourselves out there for the taking.”

Finder was thrilled when he read the movie adaptation of his novel,  written by Jason Dean Hall and Barry Levy.

“The screenplay makes the story a kind of generational statement,” he said. “It’s about what it’s like right now to be in your 20s entering the working world and watching the whole structure crumble. I think it gets to the alienation that a lot of kids feel when they realize the corruption, and the amount of gamesmanship, that are all part of today’s corporate life.”

“Paranoia,” distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures, opens on October 2.

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TAGS: Adam Cassidy, Books, Cinemas, Entertainment, Joseph Finder, Paranoia, Robert Luketic
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