Lisa Joy Reflects on Almost Pitching ‘Reminiscence’ Under Male Pseudonym So “People Might Take Me More Seriously”

As the co-creator of Westworld, Lisa Joy has achieved fame as a science fiction writer, but she faced adversity as a woman working in a predominantly white male field until recently.

Recently, Joy admitted to the U.K.’s The Independent that she considered presenting her Hugh Jackman film, Reminiscence, under a male pseudonym.

Because she thought it would be more successful than a female writer’s science fiction script (especially as she was then pregnant with her now-7-year-old daughter).

Lisa Joy Reflects on Almost Pitching ‘Reminiscence’ Under Male Pseudonym So “People Might Take Me More Seriously”

When it comes to science fiction and thought-provoking narratives, both “Reminiscence” and “Westworld” stand as compelling stories that captivate audiences. They both delve into the realms of human cognition, memory, and even artificial intelligence. However, are these two creations related?

Who are the creative minds behind them? This article aims to explore these questions and more, offering a detailed look into the worlds of “Reminiscence” and “Westworld,” as well as diving into the psychological concepts they touch upon.

Lisa Joy Reflects on Almost Pitching ‘Reminiscence’ Under Male Pseudonym So “People Might Take Me More Seriously”

It simply felt like because it was genre and because of its action, that people might take me more seriously,” she said at the film’s premiere in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

I figured, “Well, they won’t know what I am, and maybe I’ll just try to do that — try not to have them read it with the implicit prejudice of a woman writing it. Ergo it’s not as action-packed or whatever,” because there tends to be wage differences between men and women in every field.

Joy Began Her Career as A TV Writer

Originally a TV writer, Joy got her first directing credit on the 2018 season of “Westworld.” Fans and critics alike appreciated her “Riddle of the Sphinx” episode for its inventive storytelling and technical excellence.

Jeffrey Wright, who plays Bernard, told Insider that Joy is a “amazing and fantastic” director who gets excellent work out of her cast at the time of the second season premiere.

When someone is “wonderfully supportive,” like she is, “you simply want to provide for her,” he explained.

Is Reminiscence Based on Westworld?

No, “Reminiscence” is not based on “Westworld.” Though both narratives explore complex themes related to human experience and cognition, they are separate works with different stories and characters.

While “Westworld” revolves around a futuristic theme park populated by artificial beings, “Reminiscence” delves into a future where technology allows individuals to relive their past memories.

Who is the Director of Reminiscence?

“Reminiscence” was directed by Lisa Joy. The film marks her feature directorial debut, but she is no stranger to complex, thought-provoking narratives. Lisa Joy is also known for her work as a writer and producer on the television series “Westworld,” which perhaps adds to the confusion or assumed association between the two stories.

What is Reminiscence in Psychology?

In the field of psychology, reminiscence refers to the act of recalling past events or experiences. This mental process can be both voluntary and involuntary, and it is a key component in the formation of an individual’s identity and sense of self.

Reminiscence is often a subject of interest in studies related to memory, cognition, and even therapies aimed at treating conditions like dementia or PTSD.

Is Westworld About Artificial Intelligence?

Yes, “Westworld” is fundamentally about artificial intelligence. Created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, the series explores ethical, philosophical, and existential questions about what it means to be sentient.

Set in a high-tech amusement park, where guests can interact with indistinguishably human-like robots, the show raises compelling questions about the ethics of artificial intelligence, free will, and the very nature of reality and human experience.

Reminiscence Cast and Characters

When it comes to discussing mind-bending science fiction films, the name “Reminiscence” is sure to come up. Directed by Lisa Joy, the movie dives deep into the intricate webs of memory, human emotions, and technology. However, a film is only as strong as its cast, and “Reminiscence” boasts a line-up that brings its complex narrative to life.

Main Cast and Their Roles:

Hugh Jackman as Nick Bannister

Hugh Jackman, the multifaceted actor known for roles ranging from Wolverine to P.T. Barnum, takes on the role of Nick Bannister, a private investigator of sorts in a world where memories can be relived.

Bannister’s character operates a machine that allows people to revisit their past, and he becomes embroiled in a complex mystery when he meets Mae, portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson.

Rebecca Ferguson as Mae

Rebecca Ferguson, who has stunned audiences in movies like “Mission: Impossible” and “The Greatest Showman,” plays Mae. Mae is a mysterious woman who turns Nick’s life upside down. Her role is intricate and multi-layered, offering the film its emotional core.

Thandiwe Newton as Watts

Acclaimed actress Thandiwe Newton plays Watts, Nick Bannister’s confidante and business partner. Newton brings depth and intensity to this role, providing a counterpoint to Jackman’s Bannister. She’s a grounding force in a world where reality can easily blur into a memory.

Cliff Curtis as Cyrus Boothe

Cliff Curtis, known for his versatile roles across various genres, plays Cyrus Boothe. His character is key to unfolding the plot’s complexities and adds an element of suspense and danger to the story.

Daniel Wu as Saint Joe

Daniel Wu takes on the role of Saint Joe, another figure entangled in the film’s elaborate narrative. Known for his action-packed roles, Wu adds another layer of complexity to the storyline.

Supporting Cast

  • Natalie Martinez as Alessandra
  • Brett Cullen as Walter Sylvan
  • Angela Sarafyan as Emily “Watts” Sanders

These actors enrich the film’s texture, contributing to its labyrinthine plot and emotional gravity.

Significance of Characters in Plot Development

Each character in “Reminiscence” serves a specific purpose, whether to advance the story, provide emotional grounding, or contribute to the film’s twists and turns. They are all essential cogs in the wheel of this elaborate narrative machine.


When it comes to science fiction and expansive worldbuilding, “Westworld” co-creator Lisa Joy seems to have found her niche, and her feature directorial debut, “Reminiscence,” shows no signs of deviating from that.

Hugh Jackman stars as P.I. Nick Bannister in the new film, which will premiere in cinemas and on HBO Max on August 20. Bannister uses antiquated technology to assist clients who are yearning to return their focus inward.

In contrast, Nick’s life is turned upside down by the arrival of a stunning new client who is hiding a lot (a tall order in a world where anyone can peek inside your brain). And Joy sends him on a time-traveling adventure that owes as much to science fiction ideas as it does to traditional romantic tropes.

While “Reminiscence” and “Westworld” might share a creative mind in the form of Lisa Joy, they are separate entities that explore different facets of human cognition, memory, and artificial intelligence.

The term ‘reminiscence’ in psychology provides a real-world backdrop to the imaginative technologies depicted in the film of the same name, while “Westworld” pushes the envelope in questioning the ramifications of artificial intelligence.

Both narratives serve as fascinating thought experiments that challenge our understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit. Whether you are a film aficionado or someone interested in the psychological and ethical questions surrounding memory and AI, these two stories offer much to ponder.

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