February 21, 2024

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Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in Heart of Stone. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022.

Director of Heart of Stone Talks Cybersecurity: A Look at the New Netflix Film Starring Gal Gadot

On Aug. 11, Netflix released the star-studded film Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper. 

Featuring extraordinary talents such as Gal Gadot, Alia Bhatt, and Jamie Dornan, the tech-centered movie has mystery, action, and epic battles between good and evil that keep viewers guessing. 

Director Tom Harper took some time to discuss this new film and the questions it poses about tech, its power, and the future innovations bound to come.

Heart of Stone has a deeply unique technological angle that isn’t seen often. Harper dives into why he felt intrigued to be a part of a project such as this. 

“I think the films that interest me most are the ones that entertain and thrill at the same time, as well as tapping into contemporary scenes or social resonances that are going on in the world today. And I think that’s very much true with this story and the script,” he said. 

Director Tom Harper & cast, courtesy of Netflix

For Harper, Heart of Stone can be a gateway for processing the seemingly lightning-fast tech developments around the globe. 

“I think a lot of the way that we as humans process the things that surround us and the good and the bad things and the complicated are through the kind of the films that we watch, the books that we read, and the art that we look at. That’s the role that art has. I think that it helps us to digest, think about, and feed that discussion,” he said. 

Directing Heart of Stone came with some challenges for Harper: “The reality of programming and hacking is that it is not particularly, necessarily cinematic. And so it needs to be as real as possible while at the same time appreciating that we are in an action movie and we don’t have large amounts of time… There’s always going to be a sort of a balance between reality, I suppose, and the kind of nature of the genre. So we worked with a lot of tech advisors.” 

Director Tom Harper & cast, courtesy of Netflix

The film production collaborated with Marcus Hutchins. He served as the hacker consultant to guarantee the tech the characters worked with looked authentic. With Hutchins having real-life experience in stopping major cyber hacks in UK hospitals, Harper shed some light on the wisdom this collaboration brought to the film. 

“He was great actually because he sort of just guided us. He’s obviously very knowledgeable, and he appreciated the fact that we were working within an action movie, right? And at the same time, he was just trying to steer us into the best path possible… He would give us examples of what things look like and how different things might work,” he said. “He would also like to give ideas about, you know, what if someone was trying to hack into something or to get into a network. The type of problems that they might face or what sort of security they would have too. He was always a knowledgeable person to talk with.”

When recognizing and appreciating the countless positives of tech, Harper also believes that some room for caution needs to be employed. 

“There is no doubt that there are some wonderful things to be achieved with technology. It helps people in all sorts of ways. At the same time, there are some dangers to that as well. And as we all change, progress, and move forward, change can be difficult,” he said. “It can work out well for some people and less well for other people… I’m not someone who is scared of what technology brings, although I think that there is a really important conversation to be had about controls and the policing of it and regulation of technology.” 

While watching the film, it’s hard not to wonder if the world will become as tech advanced as illustrated in the plot. Harper gives his take on how he sees the tech world evolving in the future and if society is already as advanced as Heart of Stone portrays. 

“I think that in some ways we’re probably there already but maybe not quite exactly as portrayed in the film. But I think that clearly, things are advancing incredibly quickly. And if we’re not there yet, I think we will be there soon.” 

With this increased innovation for all things tech, Harper emphasizes that the essence of the discussion is about the dilemma of proper regulations. 

Director Tom Harper & cast, courtesy of Netflix

“I think that really lies at the heart of the discussion and has been discussed…There’s not been enough checks and balances for the development of AI, and I think that, again, that’s partly for safety, but it’s partly for legislative reasons that no one person really essentially becomes too out of sorts, right? What we really want is a democratic technological world.”

Closing the interview, Harper told Innovation & Tech Today the main lessons he hopes the viewers will take away from the film: “In spite of the incredible advances in technology that we are experiencing today and that we will no doubt continue to be in the future if you want to also rely on our humanity and the things that make us human. So, I think that’s trust and that’s teamwork. And while technology is an incredible tool and can be an incredible asset, it doesn’t exist. You can’t swap it out for our own humanity. And we must also rely upon the fundamental things that make us human: friends, relationships, and instincts.”

Watch Heart of Stone now on Netflix

By Lindsey Feth

By Lindsey Feth

Managing Editor, Innovation & Tech Today

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