Editor’s Note: Deadline’s Read the Screenplay series makes its debut and celebrates the film scripts that will be factors in this year’s movie prize race.
Riz Ahmed was in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but his latest film, Amazon Studios’ Meet, isn’t that kind of sci-fi movie. Meet speaks of an alien invasion, but which occurs on Earth today, in a normal family, and raises additional questions of paranoia.
No more Deadline
Ahmed plays Malik, a Navy veteran who believes alien bugs are possessing humans for a takeover. Malik keeps his two sons, Jay (Lucien-River Chauhan) and Bobby (Aditya Geddada), away from their mother (Janina Gavankar) and their stepfather (Misha Collins).
On the road, Malik tries to protect his sons from people already invaded by insects. However, his ex-wife reports him to authorities, and Malik’s parole officer Hattie (Octavia Spencer) gets involved in trying to get him to surrender. Malik’s previous arrest makes his behavior all the more suspicious.
Joe Barton and director Michael Pearce’s screenplay casts doubt on audiences as to who poses the real threat. Along the way, Malik tries to keep his sons from worrying, but he can’t hide human or alien dangers for very long. Additionally, his children are still very young, and Malik faces the same challenges that any parent leading children on a road trip would face in addition to kidnapping and potential invasion.
Barton wrote Meet on spec in 2013 when it was called Invasion. Producers Dimitri Doganis, Piers Vellacott and Derrin Schlesinger brought it to Pearce after seeing their previous film, The beast. Pearce then incorporated his own family trips into the review.
Meet premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and performed at festivals in Toronto, BFI London, Chicago and Philadelphia. Amazon released peak theaters on December 3 and on Prime Video on December 10. The British Independent Film Awards and the London Critics Circle nominated Ahmed for his performance, and BIFA also nominated Chauhan, composer Jed Kurzel and the sound crew.
Click below to read the scenario.
Best of Deadline
Sign up for the Deadline newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.