Sleep Dealer director already dreaming of a sequel

Alex Rivera, who directed and co-wrote the indie sci-fi film Sleep Dealer, told SCI FI Wire that he already has ideas for a sequel. Sleep Dealer depicts a future in which technology enables workers to pilot warplanes remotely or work construction jobs virtually via nodes implanted on their bodies. Water has become scarce, and corporations control the resource.

"I can absolutely see a killer sequel, and I'd love to explore the character of the drone pilot, the soldier who's in America but who's conducting a war around the world by remote control," Rivera said in an exclusive interview last week in Beverly Hills, Calif. "I'd love to explore the water terrorists and this idea of a rebellion around control of water. There's a bunch of ideas in Sleep Dealer that, if I can settle down and focus, I'd love to explore them more."

Rivera's goal with Sleep Dealer was to focus on ideas rather than action sequences. Now that the ideas are in place, Rivera says he envisions a more action-packed sequel. "I've got nothing against action," he says. "So long as the ideas are there and the film can say something true and exciting about the world, then I'd love it to have explosions [and] sex. I'd love it to have all the bells and whistles and the thrills of any sci-fi, but to me, it can never come instead of or as a replacement for the ideas and a chance to think about our future."

Since Sleep Dealer was independently produced, the actors did not sign multipicture deals. But Rivera's intention would be to revisit the same characters with the same performers. "I would absolutely work with the same cast," he said. "I definitely would."

As his first film, Sleep Dealer was a learning experience for the filmmaker. Rivera hopes to use this knowledge to expand the world he created. "I learned a ton in this process," he said. "This was my first time not only making a science fiction, my first time working with actors, my first time directing the dramatic camera. Everything was first time for me, so I learned so much."

Sleep Dealer opens in select cities on Friday.

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