Riley Stearns’ newest dark comedy, Dual, has an intriguing science fiction angle. In Dual people who have a terminal diagnosis can have themselves replicated to save their loved ones the pain of losing them. However, in the rare case where a person, in this case, Sarah (Karen Gillan), is no longer terminal due to remission they must fight against their double in a televised duel to the death. Now, Sarah has one year to train for the fight of her life.

RILEY STEARNS REVEALS HOW HE KNEW KAREN GILLAN WAS RIGHT TO STAR IN DUAL AFTER ONLY ONE MEETING

Dual Director Explains How He Immediately Knew Karen Gillan Was Perfect For The Lead And How Aaron Paul's Casting Changed His Character: Exclusive Interview - The Illuminerdi

Karen Gillan, who stars in Dual, pulls double duty playing both Sarah and Sarah’s double. The Illuminerdi had the opportunity to speak with Riley Stearns about working with Karen Gillan in Dual and why he knew after only one meeting that she was the right actress to lead this film.

“I will just write with kind of a blank slate, so I’m not really picturing people as I write. And then once you go to casting there are so many variables that go into it, that you can’t really know exactly where you’re gonna end up. But the really cool thing was when we first met, when I met Karen, and she just like got it. She was a fan of The Art Of Self-Defense and was just enthusiastic, in a way that I hadn’t really experienced on this script from other people.

When we finished that meeting, I called my agents right away, and was just like, ‘I think we’ve got her, we’ve got Sarah.’ And I hoped that she felt the same way. And we left it sort of in that space where both of us were, ‘You want to work with me, right? And I want to work with you, right? That’s what we’re doing?’ And sure enough, she did. And once she was on board, she just was fully committed to the project. And I cannot imagine anybody else being Sarah, now. Or Sarah’s double for that matter.”

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The fact that it took a single meeting for Riley Stearns to know that Karen Gillan was the right choice shows how much passion she must have had in the meeting. One of the most interesting parts of Dual is the offbeat chemistry between Sarah (Gillan) and her combat trainer Trent (Aaron Paul.) In our interview Riley Stearns revealed that Aaron Paul’s casting actually changed his character in Dual.

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“So, on the page Trent, the personal combat trainer, I feel like was written a little bit darker, a little bit more like, you’re not sure what his motives are. And maybe he has ill intentions, too. But once Aaron got involved, I kinda knew that wasn’t gonna be a thing that we really went down anymore, that path we were gonna go down. Because Aaron is just is so innately likable and brings so much earnestness to everything that he does.

So, Trent really evolved into a person who maybe just wasn’t a great trainer, or maybe even though he’s the cheapest one in a town like, he still has her best interest at heart. But then when there’s this one little thing that has to happen, where you feel like maybe he’s up to no good, you can still buy it, because of the way he can kind of deliver it. But, honestly, they just ended up being the best pairing because they got along like best friends right away.

Very funny, similar sensibilities, Karen’s a goof ball, Aaron’s just like the biggest people person. I was very, very lucky that they were the two people that I would go and see on set, every day for about a week when Aaron was there shooting the movie. And Beulah Koale also, just like similarly got along with Karen in such a goof ball sort of way. So, every single day, if anything just like calming everybody down and being like, ‘I know you all are having a ton of fun, but remember we are also doing this weirder, darker thing, too.’ So, they were consummate professionals.”

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It is interesting that Aaron Paul’s personality had an impact on his character and changed the movie to a degree. Although it sounds like the set was full of fun and hijinks, with Karen Gillan at the center of it, Dual is an intense dark comedy with surprising moments of levity. Dual tackles some big philosophical ideas, but it’s grounded largely by these performances.

Dual is in theaters now.

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Are you going to see Dual? Are you a fan of Karen Gillan and Aaron Paul? Do you think you could take on your own evil twin? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media and check back with The Illuminerdi for more.

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