Lily Gladstone On New Film ‘The Memory Police’: It Addresses “A Systemic Effort To Erase Your Sense Of Who You Are, Your Memories, Language, Culture”

With a fresh Leading Actress Oscar nomination for the role of Mollie Kyle in Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon, Lily Gladstone is next set to enter sci-fi territory with upcoming movie The Memory Police—a move that will also reunite her with Scorsese, set to executive produce.

“It’s on an unnamed island at an unnamed place, unnamed time,” Gladstone said of the new film, during a Q&A following a Killers of the Flower Moon screening in LA on Sunday. “So it takes place nowhere and therefore everywhere.”

The Memory Police will be directed by Reed Morano (The Handmaid’s Tale, Meadowland), with a script from Charlie Kaufman, adapted from the Yōko Ogawa novel of the same name.

“The adaptation is done by Charlie Kaufman,” Gladstone continued, “so it’s labeled as a sci-fi, but in the way that [Kaufman’s previous films] Eternal Sunshine [of the Spotless Mind] or Synecdoche [New York] was a sci-fi. It happens very much in the subconscious mind and deals with, of course, themes of memory, authoritarianism.”

In Ogawa’s novel, the story follows a writer living on an island controlled by a hidden force that causes people to collectively forget. Some islanders though, are willing to risk everything to preserve their dwindling memories.

Gladstone is the first Native American woman to be Oscar-nominated. She also won the Lead Actress Golden Globe last month and is also SAG-nominated for Killers of the Flower Moon. She noted that The Memory Police appeals to her because “it’s the kind of story that could take place everywhere. I think anybody who comes from a world culture or a history where there’s been a systemic effort to erase your sense of who you are, your memories, your language, your culture- in this film, birds are disappeared because they’re deemed unnecessary.”

In Killers of the Flower Moon, Gladstone stars as Mollie Kyle, an oil-rich Osage woman who marries Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio), only to learn he is part of a plot to murder and steal from the Osage Nation.

Gladstone’s 2023 indie film Fancy Dance, directed and co-written by Erica Tremblay, was also recently picked up by Apple Original Films for distribution. In the film, Gladstone stars as Jax, a woman who kidnaps her niece from her white grandparents, hoping to find the child’s missing mother and reunite their family. Gladstone told Deadline she feels that Fancy Dance is very much in tune with Killers of the Flower Moon: It’s the “same place, in a lot of ways, same story, just a hundred years later,” she said.

Also in the pipeline Gladstone has the Morrisa Maltz-directed Jazzy, a companion piece to Maltz’s The Unknown Country, which Gladstone co-wrote and starred in. Plus, she has the limited television series Under the Bridge, in which she stars alongside Riley Keough, Anoop Desai and Archie Panjabi. The series follows the true story of a murdered teenage girl and the seven teenagers accused of her killing and is set for release April 27th.


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