“More than ever, I genuinely feel like the things that are f*cked up and flawed about human beings are the most important things about a relationship, and finding peace in those things,” director Drake Doremus told Deadline in Tribeca today. “I think the idea that you can engineer something to be perfect for you is kind of ridiculous, in a lot of ways.”

Appearing with actors Ewan McGregor and Léa Seydoux, the director behind such films as Like Crazy and Newness was in town to discuss his Tribeca-premiering sci-fi romance, Zoe. Contemplating the influence of technology upon romantic relationships, Doremus second sci-fi-tinged feature follows two colleagues (McGregor and Seydoux, in her first prominent English-language role) at a revolutionary research lab, in the process of designing technology to improve—and maybe even “perfect”—romantic relationships. As their work progresses and their relationship deepens, the two begin to question their assumptions about life and love.

Known for his intimate, organic contemplations of romantic relationships, Doremus has become famous for his working process, involving a complex mix of improvised and scripted work. For the rotating list of A-listers in the directors company, this unique way of working is always a draw—and their ways of responding to the situation on set are never the same.

“I didnt know that I would enjoy improvisations as much as I did. We had a script, and we would do versions of the script, and then we would do versions where we didnt do the dialogue at all—like a piece of jazz music, something you improvised around those lines,” McGregor said. “I thought that perhaps, as an actor, a part of your brain would be so concerned about finding clever words to say that you would not be in the moment, but I found it not to be the case at all. I really liked it, and I found it very freeing.”

To hear more from the director and stars of Zoe—recently acquired by Amazon Prime—click above.

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The Deadline Studio at Tribeca is presented by Nespresso.

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