Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams anthology series has found one of its villains in Janelle Monáe who’ll be playing opposite Juno Temple in an episode titled “Autofac.” This is the future liberals want.
In Dick’s original “Autofac” short story, the world has been devastated by a massive war that has forced what little of humanity is left to rely on self-replicating autofac(tories) that produce resources on their own and determine what they think humanity needs. Think Futurama’s MomCorp, only more dystopian and menacing.
When a group of human rebels realizes that the autofacs’ stranglehold on the planet’s resources means that they might never have a chance to take back control of production, they stage an attack against the machines. According to Deadline, Monáe is slated to play Alexis, a representative for the Autofac, while Temple is set to play Emily, a woman who organizes the rebel attack on the Autofac flagship factory.
While Monáe’s already more than proved that she has the acting chops to pull just about anything off, thanks to roles in Moonlight and Hidden Figures, this would mark the actresses’ first on-screen role in a major scifi production, and an incredibly fitting one at that. Many of Philip K. Dick’s ideas about the future of automation feature prominently in Monáe’s concept albums that have told the story of Cindi Mayweather, a time-traveling android messiah from the future. Fans (myself included) have dreamt for a cinematic adaptation of Monáe’s own scifi work for years now; her “Autofac” role, one hopes, might help turn that dream into a reality.
Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams will air on Channel 4 in the UK later this year and come to Amazon Prime shortly thereafter.