What To Watch After ‘Succession’: AI Is Sinner And Saint In Tech Thriller ‘Rabbit Hole’

For those traumatized by the final season of HBO’s Succession, Paramount+ has a winner in its latest twisty corporate thriller starring Kiefer Sutherland.

Although many documentaries have been made about the abuses of AI by giant tech companies including Netflix’s The Great Hack and The Social Dilemma, there’s nothing quite like watching data eat the world in a Hollywood tale where the truth is stranger than fiction.

In Rabbit Hole, Sutherland plays a founder of a social media startup who slips into the espionage game when he stumbles onto a plot to hack the US presidential election. For fans of his earlier 24 and Designated Survivor series, the actor delivers similar edge-of-your-seat action that will keep the audience guessing who is the hero and who is the villain until the very end. The show’s creators Glenn Ficarra and John Requa wrote it that way.

The two jumped at the chance to make the series after their agent, CAA’s Joe Cohen who also represents Sutherland, told them the actor was looking for a new project. In just six weeks they had the script written and were heading into production.

“It was around the end of 2021 when we started the writers room. By September 2022 we were wrapping production,” Ficarra said in an interview. “It was as quick as it’s ever been,” Requa added.

The duo have been working together since attending the film program at Pratt Institute in the nineties. Knocking out hits year after year, they directed and produced last year’s WeCrashed for Hulu starring Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway and before that produced the NBC series This Is Us. Film credits include Crazy, Stupid Love, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and Focus starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Tina Fey, Margot Robbie and Will Smith.

A venerable content machine, the two wrote Rabbit Hole as a multi-season story with the intent of building it into a franchise.

“We had been thinking about the conspiracy films of the post-Watergate era when no one knew who to trust and felt the timing was right,” Ficarra said.

Paraphrasing Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, he added, “People feel like we’re in a period of time when our privacy is being invaded. And I don’t think that’s true. It’s only true if you go on the Internet.”

Embracing life offline, both shun social media and use privacy browsers like DuckDuckGo.

Deepfaking It

In Rabbit Hole, there are algorithms manipulating just about everything the characters encounter, from what they think they’re seeing on tv to what they think they’re swiping on a dating app. And of course, there’s the omnipresent camera dictating events as they unfold. But is the Fibonacci sequence enough to help Sutherland crack the code?

In 2020, Requa and Ficarra did a series for Fox called Next starring Mad Men’s John Slattery about a tech titan who joins forces with the FBI to stop a rogue AI agent. Despite killer robocars and a menacing Alexa the show didn’t get renewed.

“It was ahead of its time,” said Requa. “People didn’t buy it because it was almost too fantastical.”

To future-proof Rabbit Hole, he said they’re unlikely to add ChatGPT as a character, just in case it turns out to be a tempest in a teapot.

Ficarra also doesn’t fear clever chatbots taking their jobs. “I just don’t know how good the AI is in reading the zeitgeist, scanning conversations and saying, you’re the third person I’ve heard mention that today, maybe we should make a movie about it, and knowing whether it’s been done to death or no one is hungry to talk to about it,” he said.

And who knows, they may be right. Italy has already banned ChatGPT as other European nations with strict privacy laws evaluate how to regulate the technology. ChatGPT is not available in countries that censor the Internet like China, North Korea, Russia and Iran, according to CNBC. And Google’s Bard and Microsoft’s Bing chat have still not been fully released to the public in the US.

How To Watch

Rabbit Hole is currently streaming on Paramount+. Other series worth a watch on the network include The Offer, about the making of The Godfather starring Miles Teller and Matthew Goode, and Tulsa King, about a mob boss trying to set up shop in Oklahoma, starring Sylvester Stallone, from Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles