Robert Rodriguez and John Malkovich have made a movie that no one currently alive will ever see—and that's just fine by them.
The film is called 100 Years, and it was financed by French cognac maker Louis XIII (pronounced "Louie Trez"), whose marketers conceived this unusual, ingenious idea.
Louis XIII, officially known as Louis XIII de Remy Martin, is a brand that prides itself on craftsmanship. Its cognac is made from wine grapes grown in the Grande Champagne territory of Cognac, France. It is blended from 1,200 eaux-de-vie (brandy) that takes 100 years to craft. Fred & Farid in New York produced the film under head of production Karim Naceur, in conjunction with Moonwalk Films and executive producer Gaspard Chevance.
Ludovic du Plessis, the brand's global executive director, noted at a press conference with Rodriguez and Malkovich on Wednesday that it takes a century for each bottle of Louis XIII to age. So, why not do the same with a film?
"Our cellar master is crafting Louis XIII today that will be ready in 2115," he noted. "He will never see his baby. He is working on something for people who haven't been born yet. This is impressive, and this is our source of inspiration. This was the creative source of inspiration for the movie 100 Years."
Similarly, the cast and crew of 100 Years will never see the final cut of the film, not even Rodriguez, who sent his rough edit out for visual effects to be added and never saw the final cut before it went in the vault.
A few stills from three futuristic teasers for the film were leaked on entertainment websites earlier this month, but the news that the actual film was to be held for release for another century was only revealed Wednesday.
Though specifics about 100 Years were not disclosed, the filmmakers describe it as set in the current world.
"It's set today, it's very elegant, it's emotionally charged, and it's John's writing," said Rodriguez, dressed casually in dark clothes and a leather jacket, referring to Malkovich. "You have to touch people's hearts if they're going to show it in the future, so it has to be honest. The teasers are what we imagine the future would be to grab your attention. I'm proud of it, even though nobody I know will ever see it."
Malkovich plays the hero, Chinese actress Shuya Chang (Revenge of the Green Dragons, the upcoming Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend) plays the heroine, and Chilean actor Marko Zaror, who appeared in Rodriguez's Machete Kills, plays the villain.
Though few details about the plot are known, du Plessis described it as Malkovich's vision of the next 100 years. "It's the delicate relationship between the past, the present and the future," he said. "It's really, for us, a tribute to the mastery of time."
He would not disclose the genre of the film or its budget, although when pressed, he said it was in "the seven figures."
"It's not a drama; it's not a comedy," he added. "It's in between these two. Some moments are more drama, and some are more comedy. We do not put it in a certain category."
Du Plessis said choosing Malkovich to write and star in the film was an easy decision. "He is the best actor of his generation" and "a creative genius," du Plessis said. He joked that the two-time Oscar nominee (Places in the Heart, In the Line of Fire) speaks better French than he (a native of France) does.
"I've watched him work, and I've seen the creativity in his eyes," he said.
The completed film was to be placed in a safe specially designed by Fichet-Bauche, a two-centuries-old French security company, at the Sheats Goldstein Mansion in Hollywood. The safe, fitted with bulletproof glass and a state-of-the-art timer that records the time and date and will mark the countdown, is slated to travel around the world under high security for an international tour beginning in Hong Kong on Dec. 11, before it reaches its final destination at the House of Louis XIII in Cognac, where it will remain until it will automatically open in the 22nd century. Louis XIII is giving 1,000 silver-plated movie tickets to certain "influencers" around the world so their descendants can one day view the film.
Asked whether there is product placement of Louis XIII in the film, Rodriguez responded, "Yes, there is a bottle there. But it's about John's vision of the future."
Quipped Malkovich, nattily dressed in one of his own designer suits, "I thought it was a little fantastic idea; I wish it would have happened to some of my other films."
He went on to say, "I liked the idea. … When they showed me the plans Robert had, it seemed exciting to imagine."
Photographed by renowned director of photography Claudio Miranda, whose credits include Tomorrowland and Life of Pi, the film is one of Rodriguez's proud achievements. He is best known for action films including From Dusk Till Dawn and Sin City, as well as the family friendly Spy Kids movies. He said working with Malkovich and the Louis XIII team has been a creative and exciting experience.
"I've worked with John before, and the idea to work with him again was great," he added.
Of his association with Louis XIII, he complimented the brand's ambition, although he admits he didn't initially realize the film would be locked away for 100 years when he signed on.
"It speaks to the product," he said. "It's about craftsmanship and about doing something sight unseen for future generations. The more I thought about this project, the more I couldn't say no. I want to make something that's going to open in 100 years."
Rodriguez says he is looking forward to his great-grandchildren seeing the film one day, along with his clone.
As for his thoughts about the future, Malkovich was philosophical.
"I don't think about it so much," he said. "I try to fill the time I have left with things that interest me. As I'm not an inventor or scientist, I don't know how much I can contribute to the future."
For those who can't wait a century to see 100 Years, you can still get a sneak peek—an exclusive trailer and three teasers can be viewed at on YouTube. Viewers are invited to join the conversation on social media with #notcomingsoon and follow Louis XIII on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Agency: Fred & Farid New York (FF GROUP)
Client: Louis XIII
Title of ad: 100 Years
Brand supervisor: Ludovic du Plessis, Caroline Sarrot Lecarpentier, Ingrid Gnanadicom
Chief creative officers: Fred & Farid
Creative director: Laurent Leccia
Copywriting, art direction: Laurent Leccia
Agency supervisors: Francois Grouiller, Dushan Karageorgevitch
Head of Social Media: Matthieu Bouilhot
Social Media Manager: Allison Fendrick
Assistant Art Directors: Radouane Guissi, Anthony Bober
Head of Production (agency): Karim Naceur
Digital agency Producer: Jim tran
Production company: Moonwalk Productions
Producer: Gaspard Chevance
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Photographer: Eddy Briere
Music, sound design: Kouz Production
Music supervisor: Léo Copet
Post producer: Christophe Huchet, Stephane Allender