Warning: Spoilers for Tesla ahead.
When we first meet Nikola Tesla — the man, not the car — in the eccentric film Tesla, he’s on rollerskates. The year? 1893. Later on in the film, Anne Morgan (the film’s narrator and daughter of J.P. Morgan), uses a laptop to google Nikolai Tesla and Thomas Edison. Tesla himself also belts out Tears For Fears’ 1985 hit “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” You know, completely normal occurrences in the late 1800s.
Tesla, directed by Michael Almereyda, is no ordinary biopic. The film chronicles a period in the life of of the Serbian-American inventor and futurist (played by Ethan Hawke), who was known for his contributions to the modern electricity supply system, but with modern flourishes. Characters use laptops, cell phones, and listen to modern music — things the real Tesla predicted.
The film also features a host of names from U.S. history books, including Thomas Edison (Kyle MacLachlan), who Tesla worked for early on; George Westinghouse (Jim Gaffigan), who he partnered with to create an induction motor; Anne Morgan (Eve Hewson), J.P. Morgan’s daughter and Tesla’s love interest; and legendary actress Sarah Bernhardt (Rebecca Dayan). How do the characters in Tesla stack up to their real-life counterparts? Read on to find out.