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Set in the near future, where human cloning is accessible, Ali stars as Cameron, a husband and father diagnosed with a terminal illness who finds himself deciding whether he wants to live or die in the minds and eyes of his family.
The more than two-minute trailer shows Cameron struggling with a worsening condition while his health status remains a secret from his loved ones, including his wife, who is played by Naomie Harris. While he says he “can’t lie to my family anymore,” the idea — that he can live on through a clone, who will not only carry all of his physical traits but also his memories — is initially presented as an “alternative solution” to his death by his doctor, played by Glenn Close. But to do this, he must continue to keep his health a secret.
“The second you tell your wife you’re dying, your opportunity to do this is gone,” Close says.
Cameron ultimately considers the option to prevent his family from experiencing grief over his untimely death. But once he comes face to face with the clone (and man) who will replace him, Ali’s character begins to question whether letting someone else take his place is really what he wants.
“I can’t figure out what the right thing is here,” Ali’s Cameron tells Awkwafina as the two sit in a park. “I thought I had more time, I guess.”
According to the synopsis, “As Cam grapples with whether or not to alter his family’s fate, he learns more about life and love than he ever imagined,” with the film exploring how far someone might go and how much someone might sacrifice “to make a happier life for the people we love.”
Swan Song is the feature directorial debut of Benjamin Cleary, who won an Oscar for his 2015 drama Stutterer in the best live-action short film category. In addition to Ali, Close, Harris and Awkwafina, the movie also stars Adam Beach. Ali also serves as a producer on the film, along with Adam Shulman, Jacob Perlin, Jonathan King, Rebecca Bourke and Mimi Valdés.
Swan Song debuts in theaters and on Apple TV+ Dec. 17.
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